Wednesday Walkthrough . . . your garden

One of the biggest money wasters on my grocery list is fresh  herbs. Week after week I find a recipe I like that includes fresh herbs, so I throw the $3 package of oregano, and the $3 package of basil and finally the $3 package of rosemary in my grocery cart and sigh when my total jumps another $10. (Yes, 3x$3 is only $9, but tax here is almost 10 percent, so we're back to $10 again). 

Today's walkthrough is a run through your wallet--trying to keep the money where it belongs, and lengthening the life of a plant that can bring you fresh flavors throughout the entire year.

Try planting herbs! If you live in a small space, then pots are for you. You can take cheap clay pots, swipe a swatch of black chalkboard paint across them, and use chalk to label your pots lined neatly in your sun window. Remember lots of fresh water to keep them vibrant.

I found potted herbs at my local Whole Foods for only $1.99 a plant. That's a dollar cheaper than the herbs they sell inside--and those don't keep producing more! It's worth it to try, even if your thumb isn't very green (full disclosure: my thumb is more of a sickly yellow color. I keep a few plants alive, but only a few).

If you want to keep them coming back, quite a few herbs are perennials. Chives, lavender and mint to begin with (try both lavender or mint in your summer lemonade for a new taste, but I wouldn't recommend using chives :-) 

Your herbs will last you well into the winter if you take time to store them properly. Some people choose to dry their herbs and others choose to freeze them. I got sick of buying $3 dill and only using a fourth of it in my recipe and throwing the rest into my compost pile when it turned yellow in my fridge, so I chopped it up, added it to a tablespoon or two of water, and froze it in little glass jars. Each jar is labeled with the amount of dill it contains. So, at the very least, don't throw away your leftovers--store them!

Mmmm, my favorite use for fresh herbs is roast chicken, but I also love Carol Alt's "Tuna" Salad (a raw foodie's recipe) as well--I add lots of dill, dulse and lemon!

"Tuna" Salad 
Carol Alt

2 cups raw, germinated walnuts, soak for 4 hours in purified water (I just use regular walnuts)

1/4 dulse (red seaweed flakes), soaked for 10 minutes and drained (I found these in the bulk seasonings area at Whole Foods for really cheap)

4 T chopped fresh dill (I usually add more)

4 T chopped fresh parsley

2 garlic cloves

1/4 c. cold-pressed olive oil (the best oil for you, but to cut costs I use EVOO)

2 t. sea salt

1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more if you love your food on the acidic side like me)

2 1/2 c. celery stalks, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped

1/2 med. white onion, chopped

Combine the walnuts, dulse, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, oil and salt in the bowl of a food processor, using the S-blade. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the celery, pepper and onion. Serves 6. Great on toasted bread with lettuce and tomatoes or just served as a dip with tortilla chips.

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