Saturday, October 4, 2003

Herbs flavor her life

Goshen woman cooks with what she grows and likes to share with friends

By Beth Burwinkel
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Jan Anderson of Goshen Township shows off Russian sage in her herb garden.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
When Jan Anderson wants something special to flavor her recipes, she doesn't have to go much farther than the kitchen door.

Outside her kitchen the Goshen Township woman grows a garden filled with herbs - rosemary, three or four types of thyme, a few different basils, oregano, chives, sage, parsley and more.

"I use my herbs constantly," says Anderson, who developed an interest in international cuisine while traveling during her husband's Navy career. "I just got a really neat taste for all these different kinds of herbs."

Some of Anderson's herbs will be at Coney Island today and Sunday and next weekend on Saturday and Sunday for the Cincinnati Flower and Farm Fest, presented by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society.

Anderson and many other members of the Log Cabin Herb Society have worked for several weeks to assemble a whimsical display of scarecrows and herbs. Throughout both weekends, Anderson and others will share their expertise during free "Live in the Garden" presentations.

These days, one herb garden just isn't enough for Anderson. She grows a second herb patch in a sunny area of her yard to provide a steady supply to share with friends.

When she chooses plants for her garden, Anderson makes sure to include the herbs she likes to use in the kitchen.

Anderson puts chives in egg salad. She enjoys the flavor of rosemary in lamb and beef, sage in stuffing and oregano and basil in Italian dishes. Chives and lemon thyme flavor baked fish.

"My favorite thing is to make (herb) bundles," Anderson says. She often picks rosemary, parsley, thyme and oregano, washes them and ties them in bundles to stuff in baked or rotisserie chicken.

She uses rosemary, thyme, parsley and "a little bit of everything" in beef stew. Basil, thyme and rosemary blend nicely into bread crumbs for meatballs and meatloaf. She uses coriander, dill and fennel seeds for pickles.

Makes herbal bread

Anderson's husband, Andy, makes herbal bread by picking four or five different herbs from the kitchen garden and kneading them into the dough.

Anderson dries many of her herbs so she can enjoy them year-round. She freezes basil and chives.

When the growing season ends, she also transplants several herbs into a large pot and grows them in a sunny window throughout the winter.

This year she expects to bring rosemary, basil, chives, curled parsley (which doesn't get as large as other varieties) and thyme into the house.

"It's nice to have (herbs) in your kitchen window," she says. "Every time you take a sprig off, your whole kitchen smells good.

She's learned about herbs through years of growing, cooking and reading about them. She also enjoys learning from speakers at Log Cabin Herb Society meetings.

"The more you read, the more you learn and the more you want to do with herbs," Anderson says. "It catches you."

It doesn't take a lot of space to grow herbs, says Log Cabin member Donna Woods, also of Goshen Township.

She grows herbs on a patio and will speak about basil at 1 p.m. next Saturday as part of the Flower and Farm Fest.

Any size works

"You can (grow herbs) on any scale," Woods says. "You can be in an apartment, you can be in a house."

Also at the Flower & Farm Fest, Anderson will team with another herb society member to speak on cooking with rubs 5 p.m. Sunday and on harvesting and drying herbs, 3 p.m. Oct. 12.

Tips for growing herbs

Jan Anderson, a member of the Log Cabin Herb Society, offers tips for growing kitchen herbs:

Plant herbs that you use when cooking. Good herbs for a first herb garden include oregano, basil (try a couple of types), parsley, rosemary, thyme and chives. "I wouldn't start real big," Anderson said. Plant what you think you'll use.

Parsley and all types of basil grow easily from seed. Anderson usually buys rosemary, cilantro and thyme plants because they take longer to grow from seed.

Herbs need at least six hours of sun each day.

Fertilize in early spring with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Anderson also recommends spreading a thin layer of bagged (processed) manure on the beds.

Rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage and chives will come back year after year, but Anderson recommends replacing the plants after about five years. Parsley needs to be replaced after the second year.

Anderson buys cilantro plants each year and enjoys cilantro in July and early August before it starts going to seed. She then harvests the seeds, which are then coriander.

The Log Cabin Herb Society meets 6:30 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Hartman Log Cabin in Owensville. Information: Jan Anderson, 625-2639.

'Live in the Garden' seminars

Hope Wright

Biltmore Estate floral designer and decorating specialist Hope Wright will present "Decorating the Biltmore Estate Way" 2 p.m. next Saturday and Oct. 12 at the Flower and Farm Fest at Coney Island.

A full schedule of speakers and demonstrations has been planned as part of the fest's "Live in the Garden" series.

Wright is a member of the floral design team at the well-known Asheville, N.C., estate, America's largest private residence and a National Historic Landmark. Biltmore also is known for its formal and informal gardens.

Wright's presentation will include creation of a permanent holiday wreath and an elaborately decorated mantel.

Wright's presentations, at Coney's Moonlite Pavilion, will be included in the price of admission.

"Live in the Garden" presentations:


1 p.m.: Edible herbs and flowers

2 p.m.: Decorating with gourds

3 p.m.: "Flower pot" people and animals

4 p.m.: Honey dips and sauces

5 p.m.: Preserves, jams and jellies


1 p.m.: Herbal tea blends

2 p.m.: Gingered squash

3 p.m.: Herbs for home and pets

4 p.m.: Fancy breads

5 p.m.: Cooking with rubs

Next Saturday

1 p.m.: Basil - Herb of the year

2 p.m.: Honey dips and sauces

3 p.m.: Selecting herbs and container gardening

4 p.m.: Health benefits of tea

5 p.m.: Planting for butterflies

Oct. 12

1 p.m.: Canning and preserving with herbs

2 p.m.: Sun-dried tomato basil pesto

3 p.m.: Harvesting and drying herbs

4 p.m.: Shiitake mushrooms

5 p.m.: Wreath-making essentials

If you go

What: Cincinnati Flower and Farm Fest, presented by Cinergy Foundation and produced by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society. The fest includes home decor and plant markets, and an amateur flower show.

When: Noon-7 p.m. today and Sunday and next Saturday and Oct. 12

Where: Coney Island

Admission: Adults $8 at gate ($5 in advance at Kroger stores with Kroger Plus card), children 3-12 $5 at gate (price includes rides). Parking: $5.

Information: Cincinnati Horticultural Society,; 872-5194.

Miscellaneous: A blessing of the animals will be 2-4 p.m. Sunday.


CSO gives premieres impressive welcome

Holiday Craft Shows & Bazaars
Craft shows in the spotlight
Herbs flavor her life
Good local gardeners get a thumbs-up
Household items make gardening jobs easy
Removal of suckers will kill tree stump
Circle This
Get to it