Often the first green in the garden, perennial herbs scramble up energetically over last yearâ€™s dead stalks and grow a dozen new leaves while you have your back turned.
Before you know it, fat, furry bumblebees are burrowing deep into blossoms, and basil, rosemary, bergamot, dill, lavender and fennel are scenting the hot daysâ€™ air.
But a successful herb garden can also bring on a twinge of anxiety.
What in the world are you going to do with all that oregano, lemon balm and thyme?
One option is to simply harvest what you want and enjoy the luxuriant growth, knowing it will return next summer.
In the hotter, rainier parts of the United States, you might be satisfied just to keep your inexhaustible herbs from overtaking your lawn, arming yourself with pruning shears, machete or lawn mower as needed.
Don’t Let Your Herbs Go to Waste
If, however, you garden as I do, in a short growing season, or if youâ€™re just establishing your herb garden and feel invested in every sprig, you might be fiercely unwilling to waste any of your harvest.
If you find yourself with more herbs than needed for regular tomato-and-basil salads, dill salad dressing and pitchers of iced mint-tea, you might welcome a few ideas for using the rest of your herb gardenâ€™s bounty.
(After, of course, youâ€™ve supplied your neighbors with fresh herbs, made enough pesto and herb vinegars for everyone on your Christmas list, and dried or frozen enough for your own use throughout the rest of the year!)
The recipes here use large amounts of herbsâ€”enough, I hope, to satisfy your desire to make the most of a successful herb harvestâ€”like salted herbs and vegetables.
If your garden is over flowing with herbs, try out these recipes courtesy of Michelle Bender: