Leaves They are a Changing ...

      Herb by Herb

My herb book with a chapter for each of my eleven favourite herbs have now all been read ’herb by herb’. Thank you to the friends and family members who offered to read a chapter. While I contemplate the book's direction, I’ll enjoy sharing herb ideas while I learn about Squarespace blogging. 

Tarragon was the last herb chapter to come back and it will soon be the first fresh herb we will be without here in Harrison Hot Springs. In the rest of Canada, this plant dies down as soon as the cold weather arrives. Here our plants are still tall though its branches are becoming noticeably thinner.  Tarragon’s long slender leaves make a great addition to salads whole; its stems are easily stored in a vase on my kitchen counter.

Herbal Bouquet

As the weather is more unpredictable and I’m not going into our garden as much during heavy rains, I make a bouquet to pick herbs from ‘inside’ the house. I cut a long stems of each herb, give them each a good swish in a bowl of water. The herbs get a good rinse then I trim off any leaves with holes. I clip off the lower half of the leaves from each stem and it’s these lower leaves that I use to make my salad. The rest of the long bare stemmed herbs I plunk into water, in a tall glass vase with water. I refresh the water the next day if I haven’t quite used up all the herbs.

This bouquet method works well for any long stemmed herb. For shorter stemmed herbs such as thyme, I’ve started using my salad spinner that keeps herbs fresh in the fridge. It’s because this time of year, I put a handful of fresh chopped herbs into every salad I make. I might not be able to go out and pick lettuce or kale from the garden so the herbs keep the salads tasting a bit like summer.

Tarragon Time

During the fall, the tarragon in my herb garden gets battered about by wind and rain until it goes to sleep for the winter. I can’t predict when that is going to happen so in the growing season, I take full advantage of tarragon being a prolific plant. I’ve now dehydrate enough for our family to use until tarragon comes back in spring. Using a dehydrator is quick, easy and helps retain tarragons’ colour and flavour. 

During spring and summer seasons when I have a bounty of one particular kind of herb from these types of harvests, I use it for the main ingredient in that day’s salad dressing. Today between winter rain showers I’ll pick tarragon for our salad tonight. Here’s a recipe I’ve been sharing that originally came from my friend Rhonda when shared with me about low carb living.

Avocado Salad Dressing

Other than its flavour enhancing the dressing, lemon juice helps to keep this salad dressing’s beautiful green colour. Use any herb you like, our favourites are basil and tarragon. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to make the dressing flow better for salad dressing. This recipe makes for a great dip as well when it is thick. There is no need for the traditional oil to go into this dressing as the avocado has plenty of good oil in it.

1 avocado - peeled and mashed
1/2 juice of a lemon
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of finely cut fresh herbs
1 heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon of plain yogurt

Mash the avocado finely with a fork in a medium sized bowl and add juice. Add the garlic, herbs, mayo and yogurt. Stir well, cover and refrigerate until use.

Let me know if you try and like this salad dressing!