Summer Herbs

Summer Herbs

Posted by Jessie Jacobson on Jun 29th 2022

June 30th, 2022

Summer Herbs

Oprah said it best, “Summer has a flavor like no other. Always fresh and simmered in sunshine.” Sunshine is our medicine – it feeds our souls; it fuels our gardens. The 4th of July is fast approaching, a holiday rich in tradition and celebration, and right now, you might be thinking about a dish to pass at the picnic. Pass the pasta salad please!

Perhaps you planted an herb garden this spring and wow did that grow up fast. Dress to impress by incorporating herbs into your recipe repertoire. Packed with flavor and full of nutrients, herbs are literally the spice of life.  

Here are some of the best herb forward recipes for your Fourth of July celebration. Thank you to our friends at Fit Foodie Finds, a female run, locally founded, food and wellness resource!

This refreshing watermelon salad recipe is made with feta cheese, sliced cucumbers, fresh basil, mint, and a few pine nuts. This salad is so refreshing with the combination of sweet, savory, and crunchy.

Eleonora (Sweet) Basil
Your go to basil for summer! Its leaf shape and open habit make this variety more resistant to downy mildew. Leaves slightly serrated and narrower than traditional Genovese types. Pinch and use often to encourage vegetative growth.

Cool and refreshing, this easy to grow plant has an abundance of uses. Some varieties are aggressive perennials in Zone 4. Try variegated peppermint for an added twist!

Full recipe here!

Grapefruit and rosemary are the perfect combination of tart and warm flavors. At Tonkadale, we have three varieties of rosemary to choose from. Make sure to harvest extra springs for garnish and flare. Use sparkling or flat water as your base - we won’t tell if the seltzer becomes hard!

Arp: A bushy growing cultivar with upright, stiff stems and light-blue flowers. Aromatic, piney, and resinous, a bold addition and stands up to strong flavors, yet pairs well with milder ones. Frost tolerant.

BBQ: Strong straight stems make perfect barbeque skewers. Remarkable flavor and aroma.

Prostrate: A vigorously growing, creeping cultivar with trailing stems and light-purple flowers. Delicate flowers are as tasty as the leaves. Pungent flavor with notes of pine, lemon, pepper, and evergreen. Frost tolerant.

Full recipe here!

A backyard BBQ tradition in many families is good old Lipton onion soup mix and sour cream. Grab a few ripple chips and you are set. But what if you could make your own with fresh ingredients from the garden. Enjoy on crusty bread, with potato chips, and/or vegetables. Add tarragon to temp the taste buds.

Tarragon’s finely textured foliage is pretty when planted among perennials and annuals. Cut back mid-summer to encourage new, tasty growth. Has a pungent, licorice-like taste due to the presence of estragole, an organic compound that gives fennel and anise their distinct flavors too.

Full recipe here!

A green sauce is always the best sauce, especially with cilantro. Use this dressing for pasta salad, lettuce salad, chicken wing dippin’, and taco grippin’! Creamy, tangy, sweet, and fresh, this dressing is nice and thick because its base is Greek yogurt. Does that make this Greek Goddess or Green Goddess dressing?

Santo is the variety of Cilantro that we grow at Tonkadale. We grow this variety specifically because it is a slow-to-bolt variety that is fast growing, perfect for several successive harvests to be enjoyed longer into summer than other cilantro varieties. Let it go to seed and harvest as coriander.

Full recipe here!

Pepper season is not quite upon us, but you might be able to grab some locally grown hot house peppers at the farmers market this week. Again, cilantro is the star of this salsa show and when added to the bright and biting flavors of with Jalapeno or Serrano peppers, party goers are soon to swoon. Don’t forget to add extra tomatillos!

Full recipe here!

So here’s the dill. Lemon, butter, dill, or almost any herb pairs well with fish. And if you are like most Minnesotans, you know we like our Walleye. You can taste lake-y freshness with every bite.

Not just for pickles! Tangy and fresh; dill has a unique and versatile flavor. Seeds that aren’t harvested will happily drop and re-seed. The foliage is the larval host of the swallow tail butterfly. Flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

Bouquet: An early maturing dill variety that produces tall stems loaded with large, chartreuse umbels. Use leaves fresh or dried. A wonderful addition to fresh-cut bouquets. Perfect for pickling. The foliage is known as dill weed. Flowers are edible and can be used to garnish potato salad, green salads, and pickles. When broken into florets, they can be mixed into cheese spreads or omelets. Harvest seeds when they begin to turn brown. Allow to fully dry before use and storage.  

Fernleaf: Dark, blue-green foliage is shorter stature than traditional dill growing about 24 inches tall.

Full recipe here!

Fresh cucumbers paired with Greek yogurt, lemon, and fresh dill. Not your grandma’s refrigerator pickles! Make sure to salt your cucumbers ahead of dressing this salad to avoid excess sogginess at the bottom of the Pyrex bowl.

Full recipe here!

Time to get out the shears and get to work! For the fullest flavor, harvest herbs in the morning, before the dew dries, and before the heat of the day.

Happy Fourth of July!