I'm writing a forum post in the hope that you wonderful people who have a lot more knowledge then me can help me (flattery can get you everywhere? I sure hope so!)
I currently work for a cookery school in Buckinghamshire as a designer and the boss has asked me to make 4 seasonal charts which quickly show students what produce is in season (fish, meat, fruit & veg, but I've also added mushrooms and herbs).
My boss used to be the Chef Director at La Manoir cookery school and whilst there he managed to amass a wealth of data on seasonality. However that info is now about 4 years out of date (hence me creating new information).
I've managed to source a lot of information, but try as I may I've yet to find info on herbs when they are at their best (I'm creating the seasonality based on best criteria as for example Strawberries are available all year round, but best when the English season is in full swing!).
I suspect it may be the same with herbs, though I could be wrong!
If anyone has information (or can point me in the right direction). The info needed is all your standard kitchen herbs (plus if people have info on Verbina/Lemon Verbina, Sweet Cisely, Tamsy, Elephant Garlic and Kinomi leaves it would be awesome).
I was hoping someone else was going to tackle this task, but they haven't, so I'll make a start.
Spring Feb -April :
Primroses, violets, cowslips for wine, syrup, tea, flowers for candying, violet leaves for salads
Angelica second year stems for candying
Burdock leaf stems for stir frying and pickling
Dandelion flowers for syrup, wine, use fresh in salads, use young leaves before flowering in salads and soups.
Rosemary when flowering for liqueur, infused vinegar, to dry
Nettles - pick young tops for soups, spaghetti bolognaise, pesto, dips to use instead of wilted spinach, dry for winter storage to use in soups, teas, infused vinegar etc.
Sweet cicely (can use leaves all year round)
Ground ivy dry when flowering for tea
Tansy collect young leaves for flavouring
Chickweed for salads use fresh or freeze, dont dry, if cooking, do not overcook
St Johns wort young shoots for salads
Early summer: May/June
Lemon balm, marjoram, mint leaves to dry before flowering. Make liqueurs.
Mint leaves for infused honey
Elderberry flowers for fritters, cordial, champagne, jelly
Hawthorn flowers for flavoured brandy
Parsley, tarragon, basil best used fresh, if wish to preserve - dry freeze
Dog rose petals for infused vinegar, honey, sugar
Mid summer July/August
Thyme - dry when flowering, use for infused vinegar, liqueur, butter flavouring etc.
Motherwort - make infused vinegar when flowering
Hyssop - dry when flowering, make vinegars, use for flavouring etc.
Calendula - use petals fresh in salads, dry petals to use as substitute for saffron
Lavender - dry before flowers open, use for lemonade, biscuits, vinegar etc.
Bergamot use flowers in salads, use leaves sparingly for mint-type tea, make infused honey
Roses deeply scented for drying, infused sugar, cordials, milk shake syrup, vinegars, teas etc.
Winter/summer savory use fresh for infused vinegar when flowering, dry for winter use.
Lovage aerial parts for infused vinegars
Bay- dry for flavouring
Nettle seeds dry for nettle salt
Sweet Cecily seeds use green for liqueur
Lemon verbena pick leaves for drying (will last for 2 or more years)
Sage use for infused vinegar, honey, elixir, butter etc, dry for flavouring. (Available all summer and autumn until frosts)
Tansy collect whole aerial parts
Haws for jam, cordial, infused brandy
Sloes for cordial jam
Rosehips for jam, syrup, infused honey
Dandelion & burdock roots for cordial, burdock root for stews, dandelion roots for coffee substitute and bitter appetite enhancer
Angelica roots for liqueur & infused honeys
Elderberries for syrups, infused vodka, brandy, honeys, elixir, pies, jam use fresh or dry or freeze.
Myrtle & juniper berries dry for flavouring
Hazel, walnuts etc for decocted tea, pies etc
Winter (November to January)
When sap starts to rise birch, maple (to reduce to syrup)
Edible fir leaves for teas.
This is just off the top of my head. I've probably forgotten lots!
Re: Need help with herbs seasons please.
May 4 2010, 1:07 PM
That's everything I needed and then some!
As a thanks, if you fire over your email I'll send you the 4 x seasonal charts when I'm finished.
You can then stick them up in your kitchen/hallway/shed/toilet XD
Many thanks again
Re: Need help with herbs seasons please.
May 4 2010, 4:12 PM
Glad it was useful. Click on my name and it will give you my email.
You might like to mention to your boss that if he wants any of his students to learn how to make herb infused vinegars, honeys, brandies etc, they can come and play with the herbs during my workshops.
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