Eat Your Greens

Basil, oregano, dill, and more -- what to do with this summer's fresh herbs

If you planted an herb garden in the spring, by now the oregano has taken over the patio and the basil has gone to seed. The rosemary has doubled in size and the lavender, well, it smells good, but what do you do with it? By mid-summer, when you're overrun with herbs but desperate not to waste the bounty of your kitchen garden, try something new.

Basil-infused oil

Heat 1 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup minced basil over medium heat for 10 min.
Strain with a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in large cast
iron pan or Dutch oven on medium-high and add 1 cup of popcorn. Shake often.

Use the extra oil to drizzle over popped popcorn.


Traditional use: Tossed with garlic on roasted potatoes or stuffed in a roast chicken.
Try: Adding a tablespoon to homemade bread or cornbread.
Impress your friends: Toss 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary with 1 pound cashews, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for ten minutes.


Traditional use: As part of the classic mozzarella/tomato/basil triple threat.
Try: Infusing olive oil with basil and using the oil to pop popcorn
Impress your friends: Make a party dip by blending 1 small package of feta cheese, 10 basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a blender.

Eat Your GreensLavender

Traditional use: Repelling scorpions from windowsills in the south of France or scenting your lingerie.
Try: Adding chopped lavender to a lemon pound cake mix or using it to garnish maple-syrup pancakes.
Impress your friends: Make a lavender-infused simple syrup to flavor iced tea or sparkling wine. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, 1 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon fresh lavender (leaves or buds). Reduce heat and simmer fifteen minutes. Strain and cool before mixing with beverages.


Traditional use: Flavoring grandma's homemade pickles.
Try: Mixing into store-bought or homemade chicken salad.
Impress your friends: Toss 1 tablespoon chopped dill with 4 cups thickly sliced cucumbers, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, and salt to taste for an easy summer salad.


Traditional use: When you smell pizza sauce, you're smelling oregano.
Try: Adding minced oregano to clarified butter and brushing it on roasted or grilled corn on the cob.
Impress your friends: Broil halved heirloom tomatoes topped with 1 tablespoon feta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano until cheese browns, three to four minutes.


Traditional use: Adding a fresh tang to Mexican and Thai dishes
Try: Tossing chopped cilantro on teriyaki wings
Impress your friends: Mix cilantro into store-bought or homemade tartar sauce and serve with beer-battered fish and jalapeno coleslaw


Traditional use: In soups, stews, and roast chicken paired with lemon
Try: Using it with Dijon mustard as a marinade for catfish
Impress your friends: For thyme scones, add thyme leaves to the Bisquick biscuit recipe (on the box) but replace the milk with heavy cream and add 2 TBSP melted butter

Categories: In Season