Midsummer Herb Harvest

Last week I spent some serious time in the herb garden. It could use a renovation: some are now too shaded, others are garden bullies that have spread beyond their borders, etc. Even so, there was plenty to harvest. Here's what I walked away with:

That's not everything we grow, but it is a sampling of what's doing well. Things like sage and rosemary will be better in the fall, but these are some of the herbs that are ready to go at the height of summer.

Basil. I cut a lot to avoid having it begin to flower and go to seed. Even with this giant pile, I still only ended up with eight pesto cubes. Luckily, a little bit goes a long way in the flavor department.

Horehound. Those globes between the leaves are its flowers, so I may have cut this a bit too late for full potency. Horehound is a bitter relative of mint used to cure respiratory ailments, and I keep meaning to use it to make some homemade cough drops. 

Tarragon. It's not worth drying because it loses almost all of its flavor, so I put this bunch in a cup of water on the kitchen window sill as a reminder to use more of it in our cooking

Comfrey. I have lots of dried comfrey from last season, so I used some of the leggy bits to make some more comfrey-infused olive oil for lotions and lip balms. 

Sweet woodruff. This little wonder has the power to make dandelion wine potable and a Riesling delicious. My old patch gets a bit too much sun, but a shadier new planting is doing very well. 

Winter savory. This herb lasts well into the fall, but I cut a big clump back because it's a monster that shades its neighbors. I hung this to dry to save for winter cooking.

Oregano. This past winter we ran out of oregano, so I've been much more diligent about taking cuttings whenever a handful of stems gets long enough to do so. This is also drying on the porch.

Fennel. These bulbs are tiny because they're just the thinnings from our fennel patch. They still taste great – bulbs and leaves alike.

Lavender. I still have lots of dried lavender that I use in various cosmetics, but I snipped a bunch of fresh flowers because I am hoping that we'll be able to harvest some honey soon. I want to be prepared to make some lavender honey ice cream the minute that happens, and I would hate to be caught off-guard without any lavender left.


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