Sunday, September 9, 2012

Herbs in Paradise

One of the joys I get from cooking is being able to stroll outside and snip whatever herbs a dish requires. Back in the States, parsley, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, and basil plants were our garden favorites. Throughout the summer months, they all found their way into various recipes. And with the basil, batches of pesto would be made and frozen so we could enjoy a taste of summer even in the coldest months.

When we moved to Belize, we relished the idea that we could perhaps raise herbs and have them available year-round. Many herbs are grown from seed in Belize, but we did luck out during a trip to Atlantis Gardens, here in Corozal. There we picked up two basil plants, rosemary, and a local version of thyme.

Let me take you on a quick tour of our herb bed to show you what else we’re growing.

Those small seedlings on the left are cilantro plants. We never had any luck growing it in the States, but it’s supposed to thrive here. And yes, I know there are some people who hate the taste of it, but it’s one of our favorite herbs. So there.

Next to the cilantro, we have arugula, which we grew from seed and, as you can tell, is doing just fine. We have some seeds for romaine that we want to try in another month or so when the weather gets a little cooler. Cooler being a relative term, here in Belize. 

While it’s hard to see in this shot, on the left are some sunflower seeds just popping their heads up. While technically not a herb, I just love these flowers…they’re so cheery looking… and plan to put them in front of the workshop and the house. 

On the right we have a couple of teeny, tiny basil plants, again that we started from seeds. It will be interesting to see how they make out compared to the ones we bought at the nursery.

This is the local thyme I mentioned. I wish there was a way to adequately describe how intoxicating the fragrance is. If there was a way to incorporate it into soap, I would slather it all over myself on a regular basis. It’s that amazing. In lieu of that, I use the leaves in almost everything I cook. 

Here are the basil plants from Atlantis Gardens, which get pruned on a regular basis to make a pesto-like mixture.

We’re still looking for either seeds or starter plants for oregano, Italian parsley, and tomatoes. If we can score those, it will mean even more kitchen goodness!

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