Sunday, June 1, 2014

French herb garden

Bay laurel-Laurus nobilis-Plant next to a wall for afternoon shade and winter protection; use in soups, stews. Zones 8-10
French lavender-Lavandula stoechas-May have trouble with heat and humidity; plant in gravel for proper drainage. Zones 8-9
French tarragon-Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa-Likes cool weather; summer heat and humidity are challenging; keep its feet dry in a loose, well-draining soil. Zones 4-7
French thyme-Thymus vulgaris-Narrow grayish leaves renowned for their sweet and pungent flavor. Zones 4-9
Lemon verbena -Aloysia triphylla-The intense lemony leaves flavor verveine, France’s beloved tisane. Zones 8-10
Marjoram-Origanum marjorana-The leaves of this oregano cousin have a much milder and sweeter perfume. Zones 4-8
Myrtle-Myrtus communis-Shrub with small, glossy, sweet-scented leaves and small white flowers in spring. Zones 9-10
Provence lavender-Lavandula x intermedia-High oil content; fragrant and lovely, this lavender abides the Texas heat. Zones 5-8
Rosemary-Rosmarinus officinalis cvs.-Many cultivars of this herb from which to choose; myriad uses. Zones 6-10
Silver thyme-Thymus x citriodorus ‘Argenteus’-The silver color adds contrast in the garden; nice edging plant, more ornamental than culinary. Zones 5-9
‘Tricolor’ sage-Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor'-Variegated purple, green, and white leaves make a lovely contrast to other herbs. Zones 6-9
Winter Savory
Summer Savory

Herbes de Provence is a blend of fennel either green or bronze), basil, savory, thyme and lavender flowers; some blends also include marjoram or oregano, dill, rosemary or tarragon. Provençal and French thyme are the appropriate choices here, although English and lemon thyme are quite good also. Any of the lavender flowers are edible, but the foliage is not.  found Hyssop is added to this blend on occasion. Use this Herbes de Provence Recipe blend sparingly as it is full of flavor; it is especially good with cheeses and eggs, and is used in sauces, with pizza and pasta, fish stews, marinades, and with lamb and poultry.  Make it and use it fresh when the herbs are in season for bright flavor, or combine dried herbs to make a blend for year-round use.
• 1 tablespoon basil leaves
• 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves
• 1 tablespoon savory leaves
• 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
• 1 teaspoon lavender flowers
• 1 teaspoon cracked fennel seed
Bouquet garni-parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Often the herbs are tied in cheesecloth so the bundle is easy to remove and discard before serving the finished dish.
Fines herbes (fēēn āirbs) are more often used fresh than dried, though they can be easily dried and used, but don’t have as much of an impact in recipes.Fines Herbes provide lovely flavor when used fresh in scrambled eggs and fresh in salads; in mayonnaise, butters, light cheeses, sauces, vinaigrettes and marinades; in light soups and stocks, court bouillon; and with vegetables. The flavor of fresh herbs dissipates rapidly, so they should be stirred into a cooked dish just before serving.
• 1/4 cup chervil
• 1/4 cup chives
• 1/4 cup parsley
• 1/4 cup tarragon
Bonnes herbes (bohn āirbs), is a mix of summer, mostly annual herbs, often used as a fresh garnish or added shortly before serving. Bonnes herbes adds appeal to any salad, from potato and egg to pasta and rice, and is delicious in salad dressing. It enlivens chicken or fish—in salads, oven-roasted, pan-seared or from the grill. I enjoy it as a garnish on steamed or grilled eggplant, summer squash, green beans and tomatoes. It is prepared with equal proportions of the herbs, but you can adjust it to suit your taste.
• 1 tablespoon minced basil leaves
• 1 tablespoon minced chervil leaves
• 1 tablespoon snipped chives
• 1 tablespoon minced dill sprigs
• 1 tablespoon minced tarragon leaves
• Fresh ground white pepper
Persillade, a quick French garnish adds pungency at the very end of cooking a dish and is often added and mixed with the pan juices. It can be heated briefly in olive oil or butter, or simply used as a garnish. Often, a steamed or sautéed vegetable is tossed with the persillade (păhr-sēē-yăhd) and allowed to stand, covered, for a few minutes to permeate the dish. Use it with grilled or steamed vegetables, especially beets, cauliflower and potatoes.Try it in egg dishes like a frittata or omelet, added toward the end of cooking. The mixture is good on raw tomatoes or a plate of cucumbers, drizzled with a little olive oil. It brightens a pizza or bowl of pasta and is perfect for grilled or pan-fried fish or fowl.Although it is most often made with garlic and parsley, substitute shallots for the garlic for a milder yet still piquant flavor. It makes a perfect compound butter. The French sometimes add other herbs like chervil, savory, thyme or tarragon to their persillade.
• Scant 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
• 2 cloves minced garlic or 1 large shallot, minced—about 1 to 2 tablespoons

In the French jardin potager (‘garden providing vegetables for the pot’), gardeners have intermingled vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs since medieval times.  With limited space, the French plant closely so that there is rarely bare earth or much space between rows.  They feed their soil with plenty of manure and compost every year, and weed to prevent competition for their vegetables. French intensive gardening  results in planting beds being quickly filled in with companion plants, mulch, green manures, or self-sown volunteers. Small fruit trees traditionally stand at the edge of the potager, along paths and walls, with strawberries, annual herbs, or flowers planted at their feet. Plots can be edged with contrasting plants, including herbs and flowers, which will mask bare spots as the season progresses. Free-ranging perennials can be kept in bounds with buried strips of metal or plastic. After harvesting, fast fillers such as chervil or cut-and-come-again salad greens which self-sow can be moved easily to fill gaps when required. Fast-growing green manures including mustard (Brassica) and phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia), being tough as well as beautiful in flower, are used in France. "interplanting." Even even before a crop is harvested,  another crop is often interplanted between the rows. Succession planting provides plants to slip into place the minute the previous crop leaves the ground.

Fast Fillers for the Potager
Alyssum, sweet (Lobularia maritima)
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Chervil (Anthriscus cereifolium)
Beans, bush (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Cress (Lepidium sativum)
Mustard (Brassica spp.)
Parsley, curly (Petroselinum crispum)
Phacelia (Phacelia spp.)
Savory, summer (Satureja hortensis)
Plants for Edging Beds and Paths
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Beans, bush (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Bee balm (Monarda didyma)
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea)
Cabbage, red (Brassica oleracea)
Catnip, low-growing (Nepeta racemosa or N. x faassenii for edging)
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Cosmos (Cosmos spp.)
Dahlias, dwarf (Dahlia spp.)
Geraniums, fragrant (Pelargonium spp.)
Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)
Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp.)
Hebe (shrubby veronicas), dwarf (Hebe spp.)
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Irises, dwarf (Iris spp.)
Lamb's ears (Stachys lanata)
Lavender, dwarf (Lavandula spp.)
Lettuce (Lactuca spp.)
Mallow (Lavatera), annual varieties
Marigolds, dwarf (Tagetes spp.)
Nasturtium, dwarf (Tropaeolum majus)—perhaps mixed with beets
Parsley, curly (Petroselinum crispum)
Peppers, sweet, hot (Capsicum spp.)
Pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Santolina (Santolina spp.)
Savory, summer (Satureja hortensis)
Savory, winter (Satureja montana)
Sedum (Sedum spectabile or Hylotelephium spectabile)
Strawberries (Fragaria spp.)
Swiss chard (Betula vulgaris var. flavescens—white-, red-, or yellow-ribbed)
Thyme, bush (Thymus spp.)
Violets (Viola spp.)
Self-Sowers for the French Kitchen Garden
Bellflowers, annual (Campanula spp.)
Blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.)
Chervil (Anthriscus cereifolium)
Columbines (Aquilegia spp.)
Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
Corn cockle (Agrostemma githago)
Cosmos (Cosmos spp.)
Evening primrose (Oenothera spp.)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium, formerly Chrysanthemum parthenium)
Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus)
Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri)
Globe thistle (Echinops ritro)
Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea)
Honesty (Lunaria annua)
Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
Lettuces (Lactuca spp.)
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)
Mallow (Lavatera spp.)
Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)
Mullein (Verbascum spp.)
Mustard (Brassica juncea)
Narcissi (Narcissus spp.)
Orach (Atriplex hortensis)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)
Phlomis (Phlomis spp.)
Poppy, California (Eschscholzia californica)
Salad Burnett
Spurge, snow-in-summer (Euphorbia characias)
Speedwell (Veronica spp.)
Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus)
Toadflax (Linaria spp.)
Tobaccos, flowering (Nicotiana spp.)
Tulips (Tulipa spp.) and other spring bulbs
Valerian, false (Centranthus ruber)
Violets (Viola spp.)
Wallflower (Erysimum cheiri)

Jardin Potager outside the walls of Fort de Chartres!
This garden has been planted in the style of a French l'habitant kitchen garden. 

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