Each year, June 10th is known as national herb and spice day. Even though it may not be an “official” holiday, it is still a great day to celebrate. Today, we will discuss the differences between herbs and spices, share tips on how you can grow them, and provide a herb and spice rub recipe for you.
Herbs typically come from the leaves of temperate plant varieties. Some examples include basil, dill, and thyme. Most herbs and spices come from their own plants; however, the coriandrum sativum plant allows us to harvest both the cilantro herb and the coriander spice. Fresh herbs are available at most grocery stores, but you can also grow your own herbs year-round, which can save you money. Growing an herb garden can be done indoors; all they need is enough sunlight every day. Too much water can be detrimental to their growth, but a misting of water when the soil feels dry is all that fresh herbs need to survive. Parsley, basil, and thyme are examples of herbs that many people have grown indoors. In general, insects tend to ignore herbs, so if you have an outdoor garden, you can plant some of these and other herbs and gain a good yield year over year as well.
Some herbs are perennial and will regrow every spring. Examples of these include oregano, sage, rosemary, mint, and chives. Once you cut herb leaves, it is best to use them as soon as possible to avoid wilting. If you have too many herbs than you know what to do with, consider dehydrating them to use for later. Fresh and dry herbs both serve their purposes, so they both are equally valuable in cooking.
Spices come from either a plant’s seeds, fruit, bark, or roots. Many spices have pungent flavors to them, such as cardamom, star anise, and ginger. A couple of spices you may want to consider adding to your garden include cumin and garlic.
Cumin requires full sunlight but can be successfully grown in its own pot outside. Be sure to keep the seeds moist during the germination phase. This plant will grow to about 2 feet tall, and it attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Cumin seeds take about 120 days to mature. They start as flowers, but as soon as you notice the seed pods turning brown, they are ready to harvest. Cut the stems whole and hang them upside down with a paper bag or other container underneath to catch the seeds once they naturally fall off.
When it comes to garlic, these have to be grown separately from plants in the onion family. You can plant garlic in either the spring or fall. Put a garlic clove with the pointy end up about 1 ½ inches deep in the soil, leaving 5 to 6 inches of space in between each clove. When most of the garlic leaves have turned brown, they are ready to be harvested. Allow them to sit in the sun for a few hours after pulling them out of the ground, then store them in a cool, dry place inside.
Here is a recipe for a spice rub you can use for grilled meats such as chicken, brisket, and pork chops to help you celebrate national herb and spice day. Summer is a popular time of year to use a grill, so get yours ready for some delicious barbeque meals in the coming weeks.
¾ cup of brown sugar (packed)
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
3 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of onion powder
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
Combine the sugar, salt, herbs, and spices and liberally rub it on your favorite cuts of meat. For best results, add the rub on your meat and store it in the fridge up to two days in advance. The longer you leave the spice rub on, the more likely your grilled meats will taste tender.
We hope you enjoyed this article about herbs and spices. Consider growing your favorite herbs and spices so that you can have a supply of them to use year-round. Have a fantastic summer season, fellow Lintonians!