Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
I love fall. It means crisp days, cooler weather, and relaxing in front of the wood stove with good book and a mug of chai tea. There’s something comforting about the idea of the year winding down and getting ready to settle in for the winter.
It also means the garden I’ve enjoyed all summer will soon be a thing of the past, at least for the next few months. I’ll miss the fresh tomatoes, the fresh-picked salad greens, the bright, splashy colors of marigolds, sweet William, and cosmos.
And then there are the herbs! I love every aspect of tending them, not to mention the way their pungent fragrances cling to my hands long after I’m finished.
I’ve long been fascinated by herbs and their many uses. And with every year that passes, I find myself giving them more and more space in my garden. Clumps of sage, thyme, and basil add shades of green to my flower bed, while chamomile and several varieties of mint are sprinkled through the vegetable plot.
During the summer, I get a little spoiled by being able to go out and harvest them whenever I want to add a little zing to a recipe.
Sprigs of rosemary on tonight’s salmon? Snip! There it is!
Would a little basil and thyme help perk up a sauce? Snip, snip!
How about some mint in the iced tea? Another snip and we’re ready to go!
But eventually autumn arrives, and the summer growing season is over. While colder weather may mean saying goodbye to those fresh additions to our meals, it doesn’t mean I can’t continue enjoying their flavor all winter long. A character in one of my historical novels would have hung bunches of herbs to dry from strings stretched across her farmhouse kitchen, but I use a more modern method–a dehydrator.
Early one morning, when the flavors are at their peak, I make another snipping foray into the garden and come back with my arms laden with fragrant stems to line up on the kitchen counter. “Bringing in the sheaves,” my husband calls it. 🙂
It doesn’t take long to strip the leaves off the stems and spread them out on the dehydrator trays.
Then all that’s left is to plug it in and let the gentle heat and circulating air do their work. While I wait, I have plenty of time to enjoy the mingled fragrances filling the house. The savory aroma is enough to start filling my head with plans for future meals. Yum!
Only a few hours later, the herbs are ready to bag up until they’re needed in recipes (or for making mint tea!) all winter long.
We’ll have enough to flavor our meals until next spring, when I can start the process of planting and harvesting all over again. I’m already wondering about expanding a bit and thinking about what new herbs I might want to add.
Much as I enjoy my herbal adventures, I love the way the Lord adds flavoring to my life even more. And the seasonings He provides don’t have to be saved up for the winter—they’re always fresh! It’s just like the Bible tells us: The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23a)
Do you have favorite herbs you love to use again and again? Any suggestions on something new for me to try in next year’s garden?
And what has God been doing to “flavor” your life lately? I’d love to hear about it!
Until next time…