When my husband and I first met he was finishing his career with the British Army while being stationed in Canada. Being a teacher gave me the luxury of having the summer off and so lots of my summer was spent in New Brunswick on an Army “patch” where our love of cooking together began. The Canadian kitchen in his house had a large window that ran the length of one wall. It had a shelf on it and he always had potted herbs growing. One year we got the most fabulous rosemary plant at a farmer’s market- I’ve never seen anything like it again- but this really instilled my love of having herbs available to cook with all year round.
When we knew we were moving we spent endless hours looking on line for a place to live. He spotted this house and one of the first things he said about it was that it had a large garden. That was pretty exciting until I remembered that the British version of a “garden” is the equivalent of an American yard. A brand new, big, unfinished (aka nothing had been done to it) yard. It has loads of potential…but it is also very daunting and so we are taking it little bits at a time. In the meantime, our herb garden (with the exception of our thyme which has found a lovely home in our rock garden) has been planted in various pots housed on our back porch. Having fresh herbs all summer is one of the very best things that a garden can give you. It is so easy, isn’t it, to just step outside and get what you need. It is also a lot (A LOT) cheaper than purchasing packaged herbs at the market.
With summer over and fall quickly taking over, our potted herbs are not looking their best. Rather than just toss them and put the pots away we cut them way back and then use the leggy, scraggly left over herbs to make olive oil cubes which we freeze. Nothing could be simpler and having a stock pile of these cubes in our freezer will add such brightness to our cooking all winter long.
The four step process is a cinch – cut the herbs, add loads of olive oil and blend. We freeze ours in large cubes and then vacuum pack them to be pulled out as needed. While we do individual flavors (thyme with olive oil or tarragon with olive oil) we also do some jumbled ones with all of the herbs together.
So while I am (very) hopeful that next summer I will have a proper American garden, these potted herbs have been fabulous and have kept our little porch looking so pretty all summer.