Learning about herb blends at the monthly master gardener meeting

The Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley held their monthly meeting October 3, 2017 at the Food Bank conference room. The topic was drying herbs and using them in cooking.

Question: What’s a good way to dry and store garden herbs?
Answer: Snip them and put them in a paper bag. Leave them in a cool, dry place.
Once they are dried, store them in an airtight container.

Virginia Damron shared information on drying and storing garden-grown herbs and provided recipes for herb rubs and blends. She mixed an Italian seasoning blend for the group and provided samples for attendees to take home. Here are two of Virginia’s herb blends. The first is an Italian blend, and the other is an herb blend for seasoning wild game such as moose, caribou, or bison. Both are delicious! Enjoy.

Italian Seasoning Blend
2 Tbsp. each of: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Marjoram, Cilantro, Thyme, and Savory
1 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes (more if you like it hot)
Combine dried herbs in mixing bowl. Store in airtight jar. Run through food processor or herb mill prior to use. Grinding the herbs just before use retains their flavor.

Wild Game Herb Blend
1 Tbsp. each of: dried Parsley, Summer Savory, Marjoram, Rosemary, lemon balm (I used zest),
1 tsp each of: dried minced Garlic, Sage, Thyme, Mint
2 tsp crushed Juniper berries.
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container away from heat. Variations: lemongrass, lemon verbena, or lemon basil are good additions. Juniper berries add a pleasing flavor so try to include them.

Rub onto a roast or steaks and let it sit in the frig for about 30 minutes before cooking.
(I made the blend without Juniper berries or mint and it was still wonderful. Use as many ingredients as you can, and don’t be afraid to give it a try, even if you’re missing something.)

-submitted by Barbara Sundberg

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