Gardening season is upon us: How you can grow, store and cook herbs at home

MILWAUKEE -- Gardening season is upon us and one thing that can really upgrade your cooking is fresh herbs. Meghan Sedivy, a registered dietitian with Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, joins FOX6 WakeUp  wiht how you can grove, store, and cook with herbs at home.

April showers bring May flowers or in this case fresh herbs. The month of May marks the beginning of the growing season with the kickoff starting in your very own kitchen. Joining us today is Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Registered Dietitian, Meghan Sedivy RD, LDN who will share her tips on how to grow, cook and store fresh herbs in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Yes, as a Registered Dietitian and someone who loves flavoring dishes with fresh herbs, I am going to show you how to grow, cook and store fresh herbs in the comfort of your own kitchen.

1. Growing Herbs
• One easy way to start your kitchen herb garden is to purchase fully grown herb plants such as basil, rosemary and mint from your local store like Fresh Thyme
• Once you get your plants home, you need to transplant each plant using potting soil, a pot with good drainage holes and a saucer to catch excess water.
• Next set your herbs in a sunny spot as they need about 6 hours of sunlight a day to grow and flourish.
• Last make sure that you water your herbs, about 2 times a week and remember that under watering is better than overwatering
• Props:
 mint plant
 basil plant
 rosemary plant

2. Cooking with Herbs
• The aroma of fresh herbs used when cooking a meal brings everyone to the dinner table. But as a rule of thumb fresh herbs are less potent then dried herbs so be sure to add them at the end of the cooking process to preserve their delicious flavor.
• If you are following a recipe and it calls for dried herbs use the ratio of 3:1 meaning that you need 3 times more fresh herbs than dried herbs. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tsp. dried mint you will need to use 3 tsp. of fresh mint to give you the flavor profile that you are looking for
• For large leaf herbs like mint and basil be sure to use only the leaves and pluck as many leaves as you need, chop or shred and add to dishes like this mint and goat cheese shrimp bite appetizer
• Don`t discard the stems as these can be used as a fresh herb bouquet to add flavor to soups, stocks and sauces for another meal
• For woody herbs such as rosemary snip 1-2 sprigs and add the whole spring to cook your dish and then remove after cooking like in this rosemary potato salad. The sprig of rosemary was used while boiling the potatoes to seal in the flavor and then removed after the boiling process.
• Props:
 mint and goat cheese shrimp bite appetizer
 rosemary potato salad with vinegar dressing side dish

Shrimp Naan Bites with Goat Cheese & Mint Recipe

• 1 (10.5 oz.) pkg. Fresh Thyme plain goat cheese log, softened
• 3 Tbsp. chopped Fresh Thyme mint leaves
• 2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper, plus additional for garnish
• ¼ tsp. Fresh Thyme coarse sea salt
• 1 (7.05 oz.) pkg. naan dippers
• 2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lb. Fresh Thyme raw shrimp (16/20 ct.), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
• ½ tsp. Fresh Thyme organic ground cumin
• ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
• Fresh mint, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together goat cheese, mint, pepper, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
3. Place naan dippers on a large rimmed baking pan. Bake for 3 minutes. Remove from oven; loosely cover with foil and set aside.
4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp, cook and stir for 3 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Add cumin and paprika. Toss to coat shrimp; set aside.
5. Spread cheese mixture on naan. Top each with 1 shrimp. Garnish with mint leaves and cracked pepper, if desired.

Rosemary Potato Salad with Vinegar Dressing Recipe

• 1 bulb garlic
• 1 tsp. plus 1/3 cup Fresh Thyme extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 2 pounds red, yellow, and/or purple creamer potatoes, halved
• ¾ tsp. Fresh Thyme fine sea salt, divided
• ½ cup slivered red onion
• ¼ cup Fresh Thyme organic white wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme organic honey
• 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme organic Dijon mustard
• ¼ tsp. Fresh Thyme organic ground black pepper
• 3 whole fresh rosemary sprigs
• 4 cups baby arugula

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut off the top ½ inch of garlic bulb to expose ends of cloves; remove any loose papery outer layers. Place bulb on a 12×8‑inch piece of heavy foil. Drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil. Wrap bulb tightly in foil. Roast 20 minutes or until garlic feels soft. Unwrap and let cool. Squeeze 6 cloves into a small bowl; mash with a fork. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine potatoes, ½ tsp. salt, rosemary springs and enough water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender; drain and remove rosemary sprigs. Run cold water over potatoes to cool quickly; drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add onion.
3. For vinaigrette, in a medium bowl, combine vinegar, honey, mustard, pepper, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt. Slowly whisk in remaining ⅓ cup olive oil. Stir in mashed garlic.
4. Pour vinaigrette over potato mixture; toss to coat. Line a large serving platter or shallow bowl with arugula. Spoon potato salad on arugula. Serve at room temperature.

3. Storing Herbs
• Most herbs can be stored safely for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator after freshly snipping them from your plants.
• The best way to preserve your herbs is to place whole sprigs or leaves in between 2 pieces of damp paper towel and then place in an airtight Ziplock baggie.
• If you would like to store your herbs for longer than 3 weeks you will need to safely freeze your herbs.
• For whole leaf herbs, wash and dry the herbs, spread the individual leaves on a small baking sheet, cover, and place the tray of leaves into the freezer for 2 hours. Once frozen, remove the frozen herbs from the tray, place in an airtight container and store in the freezer.
• For chopped herbs, place desired amount of chopped herbs into an ice cube tray, add just enough water to soak the herbs and then place in the freezer for 2 hours. Remove the ice cube tray from the freezer and then pop out each herb cube and place in an air tight container to keep frozen until use.
• One of my favorite ways to use ice cube herbs is in this refreshing grapefruit basil spritzer where I add basil ice cubes to enhance the spritzer flavor.
• Props: grapefruit basil spritzer beverage

Grapefruit Basil Spritzer Recipe

• ¾ cup water
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
• 3 cups grapefruit juice
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
• 1 (1 liter) bottle Fresh Thyme sparkling mineral water or 1 (750 ml.) bottle sparkling rosé wine

1. In a small saucepan, heat water and agave nectar over medium heat. Whisk until agave nectar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add basil leaves. Cover and let cool; then discard wilted basil leaves.
2. In a large pitcher, combine cooled mixture, grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice and basil infused ice cubes. Add your choice of sparkling mineral water or sparkling rosé wine. Stir to combine. Add grapefruit slices or fresh basil leaves, to glasses for garnish, if desired.