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Herbs offer a fresh idea for your garden

Planting herbs in the garden is a great way to add fresh flavor to your meals. And the whole family can get involved in the process.

The fun thing about herbs in the garden is that, just by smelling them, you can imagine what foods would pair well with them. By adding flavor to your meals through herbs, you can liven up the flavor without excess salt.

Here is a listing of some common herbs and their uses:

Basil is used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Add fresh or dried basil to salads and pasta dishes. Fresh chopped basil also goes well with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, olive oil and a little pepper.

Oregano is also known as the "pizza herb." Oregano and basil together give Italian foods a very nice flavor. Beside its use in pasta dishes, this herb can also be added to egg dishes. Try sprinkling oregano on scrambled eggs instead of salt. Dried oregano also can be added to chicken and meat rubs.


Chilies have woodsy and warm flavors that will add a whole new dimension to even the most humble dish. Large chilies are milder, while small chilies are hottest. Chilies can be paired with seafood, eggs, poultry or meat as marinades, sauces or rubs.

Rosemary is an herb that works nicely with any cut of meat. It is also great sautéed with a little olive oil and vegetables. Try adding rosemary to potato dishes.

Parsley is often thought of as a garnish, but this herb can do much more. Fresh chopped parsley can be added to mashed potatoes, blended into marinades or mixed into salads.

There will be a Sprouts – Get Out and Grow Kids Garden and Cooking Class focused specifically on herbs on June 21. Classes are for all kids ages 3 to 11 years (those under 6 must bring a parent):

• June 20: Grow the Rainbow — 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

• June 21: Kid-Friendly Herbs — 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

• June 27: Windowsill Salads  — 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Register by calling Austin Community Education at 460-1704.


One important tip when cooking with herbs is that the fresh-to-dried herb ratio is 2-to-1. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon dried herb, then use 2 tablespoons of the fresh herb.

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