How to Create Your Own Herb Blends

Use the Herbs You Grow to Create Seasoning Blends

Making Your Own Herb Blends
Photo: bluescreen

If you’ve dried and saved your herb garden bounty, consider giving some of those home grown culinary herbs away as gifts. After all, not every cook has access to an herb garden. You can either package up individual herbs in lovely canisters, jars, or bags or mix up a custom herb  blend that will have your chef friends naming recipes after you. And it's always nice to include a recipe or two with ways to use your herbs.

If you don’t have all the ingredients you still have 2 more options:

  1. Amend what you do have with herbs from the store OR
  2. Make containers of single the herbs you have in abundance. This season’s oregano, mint and thyme from your garden will beat out the faded, dried herbs your friends have forgotten in the back of their cabinets.

Here are a few classics.

Herbes de Provence

Although this classic mixture, is becoming widely available, many people still don’t know what’s in it. It’s a fancy way of saying the herbs that are native and commonly grown in the Provence region of southern France and you probably grow all these herbs in your own garden.

There is no one set mixture, just as there is no one fixed recipe for B-B-Q sauce or garam masala. However herbes de Provence traditionally contains basil, bay leaf, marjoram, rosemary, summer savory and thyme, with thyme at the forefront. Lavender is often included in the mix, although a little goes a long way. Most cooks adjust the proportions according to their own tastes, but here is a sample recipe.

  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried marjoram
  • ½ Tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon dried summer savory
  • 2 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoon lavender flowers
  • 1 bay leaf

Pasta Seasoning

Again, pasta recipes are very personal things, but who doesn't like to experiment? And since just about everyone eats pasta, this would always be welcome. They can use it for tossing into sauces or for an instant sauce when the pasta is simply tossed with olive oil. It does wonders for pizza, too.

  • 4 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 bay leaf

Barbecue Rub for Meat or Vegetables

Something meat and veggie lovers can agree on; spices make everything taste better. This blend can be dry rubbed on all kinds of meat.  You could also mix it with oil and marinate either meat or vegetables, or you can just toss it in with your vegetables while they stew, stir fry, or grill.

  • 3 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel
  • 2 bay leaves

Air tight containers will help your herbs retain their freshness. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heat. And use them often. Even dried herbs don' last forever.

To get them most flavor from your blends, rub them between your fingers as you add them to a dish. This will release their essential oils and fragrance.

If you're giving them as a gift, don’t forget to include a recipe or two and maybe even some seeds and growing tips.