How to Make the Most Out of Fresh Herbs

When you have a plethora of fresh herbs, it is wonderful to use them and try them out on new recipes. To make the best use of the leftovers, here are a few ideas.

You can make homemade soaps, vinegars, etc. but I like to make flavored waters. Staying hydrated can be quite a chore, especially if you’re not a huge fan of plain water. It is quite boring! However, with a little bit of imagination you can have water that is both flavorful and colorful and will quickly become your new drink of choice. Flavored water is also great for your body and increases your daily vitamin intake. Be creative like … Basil Watermelon Water, Raspberry Lime Water, or Lemon Mint Water.

Herb-infused ice is a pretty way to use up leftovers while adding to your favorite drinks. Freeze mint, lavender, cilantro, etc. to perk up your water, lemonade, and cocktails. 

Make sauces with herbs – Pesto, Chimichurri or below is a recipe a friend recently shared with me:

Photo: Julia Rhode
Photo: Julia Rhode

AWESOME HERB SAUCE – GREENS AND PISTACHIOS

Prep time: 10 minutes. Makes: 2 cups
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
½ cup packed cilantro leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed
2 limes, juiced
½ cup water
½ cup good olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp. freshly grated black pepper
½ cup pistachios, shelled

Place all ingredients, except pistachios, in a food processor; pulse until all are incorporated. Add pistachios and pulse until it is in a consistency you like; smooth or a little chunky. Serve as a dip, spread, or sauce.

Note: Add additional water or oil to thin the sauce for use as a marinade or dressing.

 

FIVE FRESH HERBS WITH PASTA

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Servings: 4 – 6
1lb. uncooked penne pasta
4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pints fresh cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cup fat-free, less-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1½ cups goat cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Place in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to hot pasta, and toss well to combine. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chives and thyme; sauté 1 additional minute or until tomatoes are slightly charred and skins are just beginning to burst. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cook over high heat 1 minute. Add tomato mixture and parsley to pasta; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese; serve immediately.

 

ICED TEA WITH EACH PEACH AND BASIL

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Servings: 4 – 6
ripe peaches, sliced
cups water, divided
large tea bags
1 cup torn basil leaves
¼ tsp. dried monk fruit or Stevia (I like to use the monk fruit drops), taste it and add more to your taste

Make the peach purée: Combine the sliced peaches, 1 cup water and monk fruit powder, into a pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool purée using a blender or immersion blender. Bring the remaining 7 cups of water to a boil. Place the tea bags and basil leaves in a large pitcher and pour the boiling water over. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and basil leaves. Stir in peach purée and serve over ice.

Capt. Jan Robinson
Capt. Jan Robinson’s Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com email [email protected] Tel: 704-277-6521. Don’t miss the new cookbook added to Jan’s collection: DINING ON DECK