Now that you have all those wonderful and aromatic herbs from Natorp’s growing like crazy, now what do you do? Here’s what you need to know during the summer months with your culinary herbs:
Continue to pinch annual herb flowers, like basil, dill and cilantro, off. Use them in place of the leaves - flowers are a bit softer in flavor to my palate, so you may need more. Basil recovers quicker than dill and cilantro, but if you leave the flowers on, they will turn to seed, leaf production declines and that signals the plant to complete its growing season and die.
Perennial herbs like oregano and sage can be cut back at least a third. Check for “poodling” - that’s when the plant produces new bushy growth on the end of old, bare, woody stems. The wood in the center weakens because the load is out on the ends. Prune to improve air and light circulation. By doing this and taking a third of the top growth off, this will encourage new growth from lower sections of the branches and the crown of the plant.
If you have simply too many to use fresh, freeze them by whirling with a bit of water in blender or food processor. Make a thick paste and pour into ice cube trays. After they are frozen, store in containers. Use in cooked dishes.
Enjoy using each of your herbs. When we get into fall, I’ll talk more about preserving herbs for winter use.