It’s that time of year to get your hands dirty and sow some seeds or start picking fruits and veggies from their stems.
Strawberries are all the rage this time of the season. Wait a few more weeks, and you’ll see the same with green beans, cherries, mint and, of course, sweet corn.
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There’s nothing quite so satisfying as growing your own herbs and vegetables, but it’s just as upsetting when a potted plant wilts. Beside ensuring your plants get the proper amount of sun and water, plan your planting and picking just right, and you’ll have really fresh produce all summer and well into fall.
Herbs are one of the most versatile things to grow no matter how much space you’re working with — whether it’s a tiny windowsill herb garden, a few ceramic pots in a row on an apartment balcony or a patch in the backyard.
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Growing herbs is easy and, compared to purchasing a bundle at the store, inexpensive. In fact, how much you spend on herbs can be slashed in half by growing them from seeds on your own, Southern Living reports.
Though summer is just about to begin and we dread thinking of winter’s chill yet again, it’s pretty easy to hang onto the harvest and taste of summer long after the season by freezing herbs. The Gardening Cook has these tips:
- Chop herbs and mix them or leave them separate.
- Place into ice cube trays.
- Pour ice cube slots with olive oil. Cover with plastic and freeze.
- Remove tray, pop out cubes and store in small bags until ready to use.
Basil is one of the easiest herbs to maintain and can be tossed in salads, on sandwiches and pizzas or used in a ton of sauces. One of my favorite ways to use basil is in pesto sauce, traditionally a non-vegan sauce for pastas with basil, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil.
I prune my basil plant often to make a vegan-friendly pesto sauce for probably fractions of what it would cost in a jar. When you’re making this sauce, beware: since it’s made fresh from the plant and processed at home, it doesn’t keep too long.
Try it on sandwiches with tomato and your favorite cheese (non-dairy or otherwise), on pizza or tossed with pasta.
VEGAN PESTO SAUCE
Serves about four.
- handful of unsalted cashews, soaked
- about ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 or 6 basil leaves, ripe
- salt to taste
- water, to desired consistency
- Drain water from cashews and toss those into food processor or blender with olive oil, basil and seasonings. Puree or blend.
- Add water to desired consistency is reached.
Note: Pureeing the sauce makes a more watery spread for pasta and blending the ingredients makes a thicker spread, which is better for sandwiches.
Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron.