Just days before Christmas and everyone is preparing for the feast! Dad has brought out his elastic-waist trousers so that he won’t have to worry about loosening his belt and the kids’ eyes are as wide as plates watching the fridge being stocked with delicious festive fare. Mum is busy writing a list of all the lists that she needs to write just to make sure that everything is done on time.
What does this have to do with herbs? Well, not very much yet but let’s take a look at how the herb garden can be used to spice up Christmas Day this year.
- Make herb butter by combining 5tbs butter, coarse salt, ground pepper and 1tbs each of chopped rosemary, thyme and sage. Use this to put under the skin of the turkey before roasting so that it will be packed with flavour when served.
- Put pots of herbs brought straight from the garden centre into small, silver buckets and place these in the middle of the table. Their fragrance will perfume the air and they will make wonderful take-home gifts for guests.
- Make place cards by tying small sprigs of herbs together and attaching a name tag for each person. Wouldn’t it be funny if one of the guests was called Herb?
- Hang large bundles of insect repelling herbs such as lemongrass and citronella geranium around the patio area with tinsel. Every now and then, crush their leaves to release their oils.
- Pets love gifts as well! Pet grass, also called cat grass, is the perfect gift for dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. And don’t forget catnip for cats; it makes them go all lovey-dovey!
- Make a fresh herb wreath by wiring long stems of rosemary over the frame and then building up layers of thyme, sage, oregano and bay leaves. Add chillies or lavender flowers for colour or just hang it with a large red ribbon. Or, wire together lots of bright red chillies and bend it to into a wreath. This is easier when the chillies are fresh and can be done several weeks ahead as they will still look beautiful as they dry.
- Herbs are a great gift for everyone and can be chosen to suit the recipient. A bloke that loves spicy food might like a combination of really hot chillies and nanna might enjoy old-fashioned herbs such as mint or lavender. Herbs for herbal teas such as lemon balm and chamomile can be teamed with a pretty cup for tea drinkers and those that like to cook will benefit from the most popular herbs such as rosemary, basil and parsley.
- Make a simple but refreshing dessert by softening 2 litres of vanilla ice cream and adding in 5 crushed Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars and the chopped leaves of chocolate mint. Refreeze and serve in chilled glasses with a sprig of mint. Delicious!
- Have large jugs of icy cold punch, sangria or teas on the table. Add in sprigs of mint or lemon balm or freeze the leaves in iceblocks. They look fantastic!
- In the morning, before the rush begins, wander out to the garden and pick a huge vase full of herbs for the kitchen. Not only will it look fantastic but it will give you a steady supply of herbs throughout the day for whatever you are cooking, decorating or garnishing.
Merry Christmas from everyone at Herbaceous! We sincerely hope that you enjoy time with your friends and family make wonderful memories for the years to come.