Making your own seasoning combinations from edible flowers and herbs can be a fun journey of exploration. Here are some tips for making your project a success.
Plant What You Will Really Use
There are thousands of herbs and flowers to choose from. The best way to begin is with what you know you will really use. Look over your recipes and your spice rack. Which seasonings do you use most often? And how tasty would they be if eaten fresh, not dried? How much money could you save growing your own?
Where Will You Plant?
If you have a garden, great. If not, consider a window box, or a container garden on your window sill in your kitchen or other warm place that gets regular sunshine.
How Much Space Do You Have?
You can grow herbs and flowers easily in a container. But some plants thrive when you give them space, like thyme and mint. "Pat" them lightly with your foot as you go past and you will be amazed at how lush your thyme will grow.
It is a great all-purpose savory herb that you can use in beef, lamb and chicken dishes. A classic combination of seasonings is parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
In French cookery, the classic combination is rosemary, thyme, sage and small bay laurel. These herbs are combined into what is known as a bouquet garni, a small bag of herb tied with string or ribbon. One or two are added to soups and stews to enhance the flavor while cooking, and removed before eating.
Consider Your Climate
If you live in a place which is generally warm all year and you will be planting outside in the garden, you will have different options than people who live in more moderate climates. For example, cumin is a cornerstone of both Mexican and Indian cookery.
However, it will only thrive in a temperature of 85 degrees F and above, with good sunlight continuously for four months of the year.
If you are able to grow it, the cumin seeds can be used in savory dishes such as Indian dry potatoes with cumin, sesame and black mustard seeds.
Place the seeds in a frying pan with a small amount of canola oil and heat until they start to pop. Add cooked sliced potato and fry on both side until the potatoes are browned and fragrant and serve hot as it, or with a curry dish.
For Mexican food, combine cumin and coriander and add to beans, soups, and salsa.
Italian Cooking Made Easy
The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world. It includes small portions of about 60 different foods every day, including vegetables, fruit, and high-quality protein such as cheese and fish. You can choose dishes from Greece, Italy, the south of France, and North Africa.
By far the most familiar is Italian cooking. Mastering its seasonings will help you create healthy, flavorful meals your whole family will love.
Oregano is one of the key herbs (and it is also used a lot in Mexican cookery). Growing your own is fun and tasty.
Basil is another popular herb. It is a natural insect repellent as well, making it ideal for any organic herb or flower garden. Basil is the main ingredient in the green Italian sauce pesto, made with basil, olive oil, garlic, and ground pine nuts (expensive but delicious).
You can make a large batch of pesto and then freeze it into portions. You can then pour it on pasta, or use as a mayo substitute on sandwiches such as chicken or turkey.
Italian seasoning, which you will see pre-mixed in supermarkets, is a combination of oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and garlic. Some people use commercial garlic powder, but it usually has a strange taste and smell compared to fresh.
Therefore, you can combine all of the herbs into a clean, dry container and store in a cool place, then just add fresh minced garlic when you add your homemade Italian seasoning.
Try some of these combinations and discover what a difference fresh herbs and edible flowers can make to a dish.