Millet

Use 11/2 cups in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 2 cups of sprouts. Soak seeds for 8 hours. Rinse 3 times daily for 4 to 5 days. Harvest when sprouts are 1/4 inch long. Use in salads, soups, baked goods, casseroles, and juices.

Mustard

Use 3 tablespoons in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 1 quart of sprouts. Do not soak.

Rinse 2 to 3 times daily for 4 to 5 days. Move Into sunlight to green, then harvest when the sprouts are 1 to 11/2 inches long. Use in salads, juices, or as garnish.

Oats

Use 11/2 cups in a 1-quart jar or sprout on towels, which will yield about 2 to 3 cups of sprouts. Soak for 1 hour. Rinse once or twice daily for 3 days. The sprouts will be the length of the seed. Use in salads, granola, and baked goods.

Peas

Use 1/2 cup black-eyed or shelling in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 1 cup of sprouts. Soak for 12 hours. Rinse 2 to 3 times daily for 3 days. Harvest when sprouts are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Use in salads, soups, omelets, and casseroles.

Peanuts

Use 11/2 cups in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 1 quart of sprouts. Soak for 14 hours. Rinse 2 to 3 times daily for 3 to 4 days. Harvest when sprouts are 1/4 to 1 inch long. Use In soups, steam, or stir-fry.

Pumpkin

Use 11/2 cups in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 3 cups of sprouts. Soak for 10 hours. Rinse twice daily for 2 to 3 days. Harvest when the sprouts are 1 to 11/2 Inches long; pick off hulls and rinse. Use in sauces, dips, and baked goods.

Radish

Use 3 tablespoons in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 1 quart of sprouts. Soak for 8 hours. Rinse 2 to 3 times daily for 4 to 5 days. Move into sunlight to green, then harvest when the sprouts are 1 to 2 inches long. Use in salads, sandwiches, and juices.

Use 1 cup in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 2 to 3 cups of sprouts. Soak for 12 hours. Rinse twice daily for 2 to 3 days. Sprouts will be the length of the seeds. Use in granola, salads, baked goods.

Sesame

Use 1 cup in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 2 cups of sprouts. Soak for 8 to 10 hours. Rinse 3 to 4 times daily for 3 days. The sprouts will be the length of the seed. Use in granola, baked goods.

Soybeans

Use % cup in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout,.which will yield about 1 quart of sprouts. Soak for 12 to 24 hours, changing the soaking water once. Rinse 3 to 4 times daily for 3 to 4 days. Harvest when sprouts are 1/2 to 2 inches long. Use in oriental dishes, salads, casseroles, baked goods, or steam.

Squash

Use 1 cup in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout, which will yield about 3 cups of sprouts. Soak for 10 hours. Rinse twice dally for 2 or 3 days. Harvest when the sprouts are 1 to 11/2 inches long; pick off hulls and rinse. Use in sauces, dips, and baked goods.

SunflowerA hulled

Use 1 cup in a 1-quart jar, which will yield about 3 cups of sprouts. Soak for 10 hours. Rinse 2 to 3 times daily for 2 to 5 days. Harvest when the sprouts are 1 to 11/2 inches long. Use In salads, sauces, and dips.

Triticale

Use 1 cup in a 1-quart jar, which will yield about 2 to 3 cups of sprouts. Soak for 12 hours. Rinse twice daily for 2 to 3 days. The sprouts will be the length of the seed. Use in granola, salads, soups, and baked goods.

Turnip

Use 3 tablespoons in a 1-quart jar, which will yield about 1 quart of sprouts. Soak for 12 hours. Rinse twice daily for 3 to 4 days. Move into sunlight to green, then harvest when the sprouts are 1 to 11/2 inches long. Use in salads and sandwiches.

Wheat

Use 1 cup in a 1-quart jar, or tray sprout; which will yield about 4 cups of sprouts. Soak for 12 hours. Rinse twice daily for 2 to 3 days. The sprouts will be the length of the seed. Use in granola, salads, soups, baked goods.

Herbs are the secret ingredient in many a fine recipe — from the most delicate gourmet dish to the heartiest of folk fare. Yet herbs are also among the easiest vegetables to grow, to use fresh, or to store for the winter. If you live in a mild climate, you can grow herbs year-round in your garden, in window pots, along walkways, or near doorways or patios. And if you live where winters get too cold for outdoor gardening, you can grow little pots of basil or chives indoors, and freeze, dry, or salt the rest of your herb crop. Dried herbs will keep for up to a year; frozen herbs will keep fresh for several months if properly wrapped and stored.

Herbs are popular in cooking not only for the way they enhance the flavor of many foods, but for the fact that they add no calories. If you're on a special diet, herbs can add zest to those low-cal or no-salt recipes. For example, when cooking potatoes or rice, add a pinch of rosemary instead of salt to the cooking water to add a special flavor.

GROWING HERBS: ROBUST AND FINE

Some herbs are used only in food preparation (robust herbs); and others can be eaten raw as well (fine herbs). Among the most popular herbs are basil, chives, dill, garlic, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, and thyme. Grow them where you can enjoy their beauty and fragrance, as well as harvest the leaves at just the peak moment for use in your favorite foods. Detailed information on growing these and other herbs is given in Parts 1 and 2.

USING FRESH HERBS

You can use fresh herbs throughout the growing season. First, gently remove a few leaves at a time, or pinch or cut off sprigs to be chopped and added to your soups, salads, and sauces. For immediate use, rinse the herbs, pat them dry, and then chop finely. If you can't use fresh herbs at once, wrap them in a damp paper towel, then in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Fresh herbs can be kept refrigerated for a few hours or up to a day or two — but no longer than that.

Fresh herbs are wonderful in any recipe that calls for herbs. However, if your recipe specifies a dried herb, you can substitute fresh by using three to four times more finely chopped fresh leaves — one teaspoon of fresh herbs is equal to 1/4 teaspoon of dried. Fresh herbs also make beautiful garnishes. Save a perfect sprig to give the finishing touch to vegetables, salads, drinks, fish, meats, casseroles, and sandwiches.

HARVESTING HERBS FOR STORAGE

Herbs can be frozen, dried, or salted for use during the fall, winter, and spring. Depending on the method you'll be using, you can cut whole stalks, remove just the leaves, or pinch off sprigs for your herbs. The dried seeds of some herbs — anise, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, and sesame — are also used for flavorings, but most herbs are grown for their leaves.

You should harvest herbs to be stored when the flowers of the plant are just beginning to open; this is the moment when flavor is at its peak. Cut the plants on a dry, sunny morning—after the dew has dried, but before the sun gets too hot. The leaves you want are the young, tender, pungent ones growing at the top six inches of the plant. Strip off the tough, lower leaves and remove the flower clusters. Rinse the herbs with cold water to remove dirt and dust, then blot them dry with paper towels.

If you're growing herbs for their seeds, harvest the seeds as soon as the heads turn brown, but before they ripen completely and begin to fall off. Harvest the seeds on a warm, dry day, and then dry them, as detailed below. Seeds are dried in their pods, husks, or coverings. You remove these coverings by winnowing — rubbing a few seeds at a time between your palms to loosen the pod or husk, which will then fall away. Herb seeds should not be frozen or salted.

HOW TO FREEZE HERBS

Freezing is a quick way to preserve herbs that will be used in cooked dishes. Since herbs become dark and limp during freezing, they can't be used as garnishes — but their flavor remains just as good as fresh. You can chop herbs before freezing, or freeze sprigs and then just snip them, right from the freezer, into the food you're cooking.

Frozen herbs will keep for several months. If you want to store herbs for longer periods, dry them instead.

To freeze herbs, follow these step-by-step procedures:

  1. Have ready a knife or scissors, paper towels, plastic bags, freezer wrap or boilable pouches, cardboard, freezer container or envelope, and labels.
  2. Pick fresh, perfect herb sprigs or leaves. Wash them well, then drain and pat them dry with paper towels.
  3. Pack recipe-size amounts in small plastic bags or packets made from plastic wrap, freezer

5, paper or foil, or pack in boilable pouches. Seal well.

Staple these individual packets to a piece of cardboard, label the cardboard, and then freeze. Or pack several packets in a freezer container, large envelope, or plastic bag. Seal, label, and freeze.

For bouquet garni: Tie together several sprigs of different herbs — parsley, bay leaf, and thyme, for example — and pack as above. When you're ready to use it, add the whole bouquet to the recipe.

For herb leaves, choose herbs that are just about to blossom. Make sure the herbs are tender and well-colored, with perfect leaves and no bugs. Cut off the top two-thirds of the plant. Pick early in the morning, if possible. For herb seeds, choose seeds that are fully developed and mature. Wash off any dust or dirt from the leaves. Shake them gently and pat dry with paper towels.

Dry in bags; on trays; or in a conventional, microwave, or convection oven, as explained below.

Herbs 101

Herbs 101

Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?

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