@CoffeeBrigade enjoys the @France44Cheese smoked turkey sandwich, @HotDishBlog reports on how to score a free @NoodlesSandwich, @StephMarch and @ForkKnifeSpoon bemoan the added sugar in many salad dressings (“they’re a crime… unless they contain fruit”), and @FairFoodFight recounts a calorie counter’s accidental desire for local food.
You’ve covered your lawn furniture, cut your hostas to the ground, and raked and bagged your weight in leaves, but you haven’t the heart to cut back your wild and tangled herb garden, especially now that the sage is looking its healthiest, velvety and defiantly spring green. You can go a few ways with the last herbs standing: You can take cuttings or bring the rosemary, thyme, and sage plants in for the winter; let the tender annuals die, mulch the perennials, and hunker down until spring; harvest and store them; or harvest and use them.
According to the Minnesota State Horticultural Society’s Month-by-Month Gardening in Minnesota by Melinda Myers, your chives, lavender, mints, sage, tarragon, and thyme plants are all likely to survive winter; keep watering them until the ground freezes. Your sage will thrive outdoors long enough to make an appearance at Thanksgiving as dressing alongside your turkey, but October is the time to move the rosemary indoors for a long winter vacation on a sunny windowsill. You’re probably too late to dig up your parsley and chives (that would be a September project), but if you’ve grown your herbs in unglazed clay pots and buried them to the rim (leaving the top inch or two of the pot exposed) in your garden in spring, just dig them up now and bring them indoors. (Growing mint in pots has the additional advantage of keeping it from invading the rest of your garden.) Take cuttings now of marjoram, mint, oregano, sage, parsley, and winter savory to sprout for your indoor window-sill herb garden.
If you want to harvest and dry the herbs, you can gather them in small bundles, bind at the stems with a rubber-band, and hang them upside down to dry. Or, you can dry them in the oven on the lowest setting with the door cracked: Just spread them on a cookie sheet and leave them until they are brittle. You can even microwave them on a single layer of paper towels: Blast on high for three minutes, then keep going in 20-second bursts until the herbs are crumbly. You can also freeze your herbs in plastic freezer bags or with a bit of water in ice cube trays for later use.
A good way to use up your herbs is to make herb-flavored olive oil (recipe below) that you can use in your cooking over the next several months, mixed into mashed potatoes, drizzled over polenta or roasted vegetables, or baked into a savory monkey bread (recipe below).