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Why a green wall is the ultimate gift for foodies

Why a greenwall is the ultimate gift for foodies

Treat the foodies in your life to a gift that just keeps giving! Every amatuer chef should have easy access to the finest selection of fresh herbs, in the comfort of their own kitchen.

Having a small herb garden near to your kitchen is the perfect way to enjoy the delicate flavors of some of the rarest herbs, that you’ll struggle to find in a supermarket.

As we’ve mentioned before, the herbs that you buy from your local grocery store are grown from hardy strains. This is because they need to be able to survive the trip from farms to retail outlets and into our fridges at home. The downside to these hardy strains, is that some of the flavor’s lost in the process.  

Growing your own herbs in your kitchen allows you to plant the more delicate varieties which bruise very easily, but pack a flavorful punch in the pot.

The second major benefit of having fresh herbs on hand, is that you can pick much smaller quantities than you buy from the store. If you only need one sprig of thyme, that’s all you need to cut from your plant. You won’t be throwing hundreds of Dollars away every year, in the form of half empty containers filled with limp, soggy herb (or salad green) leftovers.

Image source: Homey Design
Image source: Homey Design

5 out-of-the-ordinary herbs that every foodie needs in their kitchen

1. Chocolate mint

Yes, you read that correctly. The unicorn of herbs truly exists!

Chocolate mint
Image source: Gardening Know How

The chocolate mint plant is a rare mint strain which is actually ridiculously easy to grow. With a strong peppermint patty scent, chocolate mint is a mouth-watering addition to teas, desserts and homemade beauty products. It also repels pests like mosquitoes, fleas, flies and mice - so basically, chocolate mint is an all-round winner in your home.

Image source: Flavor From Scratch
Image source: Flavor From Scratch

Want to preserve some of your excess chocolate mint harvest? Try this easy chocolate mint extract recipe.

 

2. Orange Thyme

Orange Thyme
Image source: Diary of a Mad Hausfrau

This thyme strain has a grey-green leaf with a spicy orange scent which, unlike other fruit-scented herbs, doesn’t disappoint. Orange thyme carries those strong citrus notes into its flavor, and is perfect for stuffings and casseroles. It pairs especially well with roast lamb and duck, and (funnily enough) in ice cream.


Orange Thyme
Image source: Diary of a Mad Hausfrau

Want to wow your guests with a truly unique dessert this Summer? Try this homemade orange thyme sorbet recipe.

 

3. Mexican tarragon

Mexican tarragon
Image source: Bonnie Plants

With its happy, yellow blossoms, who wouldn’t want to add Mexican tarragon to their list of must-have green wall ingredients? Mostly used for its medicinal benefits, Mexican tarragon is a psychoactive member of the marigold family. It’s most well known for its role in the Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead) festivities in Mexico, but was also used by the Aztecs as a ritual incense.

In the kitchen, Mexican tarragon can be used as a herbal tea to assist with digestion, nausea and hiccups. It also adds a delicious savoury flavor (with a subtle hint of liquorice/anise) to chicken dishes and eggs.

Try this mexican grilled corn recipe as a tasty twist on traditional corn on the cob.

 

4. Anise hyssop

Another member of the mint family makes its way onto our must-have list.

Herbs - Hyssop
Image source: Rare Seeds

Although it looks a little bit like lavender, anise hyssop is actually part of the mint family. It’s blossoms make it an attractive addition to your herb garden, however, this versatile herb is more than just a pretty face. . .

It has a minty, black liquorice flavor which pairs well with chicken, salmon and lamb, and can be added to salads or dried and preserved as part of a herb mix. If you have a sweet tooth, anise hyssop is also a great choice for baked goods.

Homespun seasonal living
Image source: Homespun Seasonal Living

Try out these anise hyssop whoopie pies for a flavorful treat that your guests won’t be able to get enough of.

 

5. Sweet cicely

Wild flowers Image source: My Wild Flowers

Sweet cicely is a wild member of the carrot family, with a distinct aniseed scent when crushed. It’s often used in the production of liqueurs, and can be used for its medicinal properties to prevent infections.

In the kitchen, however, sweet cicely is a great ingredient for reducing the acidity of a dish and is also a healthy substitute for sugar. You can use the root of the plant as you would a parsnip, adding it to soups and stews for flavor. You can also use the leaves of the plant in salads, adding a hint of sweetness and helping with digestion.

Wild foods
Image source: Galloway Wild Foods

Want to try something really adventurous in the kitchen? Give these decadent horse mushrooms stuffed with sweet cicely a try. Your tastebuds will thank you.

 

Bonus recipe | Lavender syrup: the 30 minute gift

If you’ve already got a green wall, and want to spoil your foodie friends with a hearty, homemade treat, why not try Runny Babbit Crafts’ Lavender Syrup? It’s the perfect addition to a gin and tonic and pairs well with Camembert cheese and biscuits. For those who just want a refreshing beverage on a hot Summer’s day, you can add a couple of drops to an ice cold soda water for a light drink, with sweet floral notes.

 

Lavender Syrup [Makes 2 US pints]

Lavender Syrup
Image source: Runny Babbit Crafts

Ingredients

  • 30 oz sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • a few stalks (approx 1 tsp) of edible lavender
  • a few drops of purple food colouring

Method

Add all ingredients to a pot, and warm up until the sugar dissolves. Don’t take it to the boiling point! Leave it to infuse for 30 minutes, then strain and bottle into sterilized bottles.

It’s important to use edible lavender, so look out for the Margaret Roberts; long thin-stemmed lavender. Use it like thyme – simply run your fingers over the top of the flowers and use them to get the flavour.” - Samantha Steele, Runny Babbit Crafts

Lavender syrup Image source: Runny Babbit Crafts

Want some more tasty inspiration to to help you use up any excess fresh produce from your green wall? Read our blog, How to dry and preserve your own Italian herb mix [without a dehydrator], to ensure that none of your herbs go to waste.


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