Harvest of the Month: Herbs

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Fresh herbs can easily be grown at home, and make for delicious additives to your favorite recipes. — Photo courtesy Middletown Nurser

One of the easiest things we can grow in the garden, or simply in pots on a sunny windowsill, is herbs. This month we celebrate the flavorful plants as Island Grown School’s Harvest of the Month. Many of the perennial herbs, such as chives, thyme, sage, and tarragon, are experiencing lots of new growth, and are ready to be harvested. Tender annual herbs such as basil, parsley, dill, and summer savory can be planted out in the garden now. Several local nurseries and farms are full of different varieties for sale; take advantage of this great time to plant a patch of your favorite herbs at home.

Fresh herbs can lend amazing flavor to salads, sauces, dressings, pizzas, pastas, and so much more. Think outside the box with herbs, and try things such as chive pesto, chopped arugula with your tuna fish, or cilantro leaves in your salad. Extra herbs can be chopped, put in ice cube trays with a little water, and used a few at a time when cooking. You can also dry extra herbs such as mint, lemon balm, or lavender to save in jars to use for tea.

Try making this Herbed Ranch Dressing to go with your next salad. It has been a huge hit in taste tests with the students at school.

Herbed Ranch Dressing

¾ c. plain yogurt
½ c. mayonnaise
3 Tbs. buttermilk powder
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. parsley, chopped
2 Tbs. chives, chopped
2 Tbs. dill, chopped
2 Tbs. tarragon, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
Salt to taste

In a medium-size bowl, whisk the first five ingredients. Add the chopped fresh herbs, scallions, and salt to taste.

Recipe provided by Robin Forte.

Emily Armstrong is the preschool coordinator for Island Grown Schools, the Vineyard’s farm-to-school nonprofit. For more information, visit islandgrownschools.org.