Monday, March 11, 2013

Fresh Herbs in Winter

Guest Post

Greetings form the North Maine Woods! I'm Sheryl Thompson aka The Wilderness Wife and I blog over at The Wilderness Wife Blog. It's a blog about my life in the wilderness of the North Maine Woods and all the things I enjoy doing - cooking, crafting, gardening and enjoying the outdoors. I feel honored that Connie has invited me to share with you so I thought I would tell you about something that incorporates two of my favorite things - cooking and gardening. 

That's my sleepy little herb garden under that blanket of snow above! And I really miss it. I love cooking with fresh herbs. In the summer and early fall, I can just step out the kitchen door and grab a handful of whatever herbs I need. But right now, in the dead of winter (we still have 4ft. of snow on the ground) that isn't going to happen.  And where I live the little general store doesn't carry fresh herbs, even in the summer.  So I always had to use dried herbs.  Sometimes that can work.  Herbs like rosemary, oregano, basil are all right dried but dried parsley or dried chives just aren't appealing in my book! So this year I have started growing herbs on my windowsill.

Not only is it convenient and very tasty, but it is very, very economical. I had some potting soil left over from filling last summer's window boxes. I picked up some 6 inch clay pots ($1.48) with separate saucers ($1.48) at Wal-Mart. I ordered by seeds online from Comstock, Ferre, and Co. in Wethersfield, Conn. for $1.50 a packet (6 packets -$2.50 shipping).

 So the total cost per pot of herbs was $4.87 and that pot will constantly produce fresh herbs as long as I take care of it.  In fact the plants seem to love the pruning and just keep on growing.  In comparison, a small bunch of wilted fresh herbs in a plastic packet for sale at the local supermarket costs $3.50.   There's only enough for two meals and they are by no means "fresh" but probably have been hanging around a week since they were harvested.

One of favorite things to make with fresh herbs is pesto.  I love pesto and use it a lot on sandwiches, salads, pasta, and pizza. I’d like to share my pesto recipe with you.
Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
Making pesto is very quick to do.  In fact this recipe shouldn’t take you longer than 15 minutes.  The recipe makes about 1 cup.
 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup walnuts (you can also use pine nuts, same amount – walnuts are mine and Bill’s favorites)

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

Chop your walnuts in your blender or food processor for about 3 or 4 pulses. Add the basil in with the nuts, and pulse a few times.  Add the garlic cloves, and pulse a few more  times.

Now slowly pour in the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor/blender  is on. Stop and scrape the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the cheese and pulse again until blended. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pesto can be served in so many ways. Tossed with pasta, and it’s yummy on baked potatoes with some sour cream.  Mix it with some sour cream for a delicious and addicting dip. I put as a topping on a multi topping pizza –the best pizza you’ll ever eat. I spread it on buttered baguette slices and then sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler till toast and brown.

Hi all, Connie here. My goodness look at all that snow! I don't  know how people live in all that snow being an Arizona girl myself  :) Sheryl I am in love with that photo of your window sill, so romantic. Thank you for that wonderful info and recipe!

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  1. Thanks Sheryl! I really need to do an herb garden and you have helped to motivate me. Thanks to Connie, too!

  2. Hi! I enjoyed your writing on herbs. Here in PA, I, too, miss going out my back door and getting fresh herbs. I tried growing them indoors this winter and they did not do well at all. Would you be willing to go into more detail as to what type of potting soil you used, what direction your sunlight comes from, if you use any type of plant food, etc? I would LOVE to have year round herbs and would appreciate it if you would give more details to make this possible. Thank you so much! :) Alane

  3. The things that I feel are important in growing your herbs indoors are the things that are important in growing any plants - light, water/drainage, and good soil. For the soil I use Miracle Gro Potting Mix. It has a time-release fertilizer that has a 6 month life so it takes me through the winter with out having to feed. If I think they are in need of feeding, I take them out of the pot, trim back the roots by 1/2, and put new potting soil in to take the place of what I trimmed. I am very careful about what I use to fertilize any plants that I am going to eat so I don't add anything else. As for light, I put the plants in a south facing window. I have a couple of grow lights that I put on them during the shortest days of winter that are on a timer. I try to give them 14 hours of light a day. In the spring I move them out to my back porch as Bill has made me "window boxes" that sit on the railing and fit the pots perfectly. Like all plants, herbs don't like wet feet so I sue clay pots so they don't get over-watered and they can breathe. If you have anymore questions just drop me a line at

    1. Thank you, Sheryl...I love my herbs and I look forward to taking your advice. Hopefully, we'll KNOW spring is here soon! I enjoy your blog and look forward to more! Keep up the good work and stay warm up there in Maine! :) Alane

    2. It's been in the 40's this week and the snow has been melting. Spring is coming...of course, here in Maine we call it Mud Season!

  4. Great idea and you gave me the nudge to get growing some myself!

  5. love having fresh herbs even in the colder part of the year just seems to bring a freshness to food that other wise would not be there loved reading your post thanks for sharing
    come see me at

  6. So happy to have come across this post (I saw it over at Raising Imperfection). I like the idea of fresh herbs in the winter. We have relatives in the family who moved to Maine and they love it (they saw a moose in their yard one time!!).

  7. I need to do this! It is autumn here in Australia so now is the perfect time to get organised and plant some herbs. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  8. What a great guest post to share ... herbs are wonderful! Being in California though snow is never an issue.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  9. Thank you. Needed a good recipe for pesto. It looks yummy. I've been wanting to grown a winter garden but I live in Honduras right now. Next year we move back to te states and would like to do this. I live in PA.

    We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.

  10. I've been thinking about setting up a few herb plants inside to provide us with fresh herbs for healthy meals during the winter. Just haven't gotten to it yet.

    Thanks for linking up at Motivation Monday! Check back next week to see if you were featured.

  11. We just started growing our own herb a couple years ago...and it's totally worth it! :) Thanks for joining the Link Up!

  12. Here in Texas I have herbs all year long. I grow them in pots on the front sidewalk. They get too dry in the ground when the temperature gets into the upper 90s and it doesn't rain for months.

  13. Mmm, love fresh herbs. I'm going to give this a try, my daughter has overwintered her herbs too and adding fresh snipped herbs to dishes makes such a difference.

  14. I meant to do this all winter and just never got around to it. thanks for the reminder! :)

  15. Oh, a wonderful idea!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  16. I featured this as one of my favorites this week.

    Thank you so much for linking this up at Saturday Spotlight! The new link party is up and I’d love to see you back. Have a great week. :)


  17. I love fresh herbs in the winter :) Thanks for sharing this guest post on The Creative HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you tomorrow at:

  18. I love fresh herbs all year long. Thank you for sharing them with us in our Crafty Showcase. We love seeing what you link up each week!

    New linky:

    Have a super week! Susie @Bowdabra

  19. Wonderful information! I love the picture of the herbs on your window sill Connie. Thanks for the Pesto recipe and all of the advice on growing herbs. Thank you for joining us at Transformed Tuesday this week.

    Peggy~PJH Designs


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