18 Brigham Creek Road
Whenuapai
Auckland 0618
New Zealand
The Herb Patch
Let your food be medicine and your medicine be food

Oregano

(Origanum vulgare) 

Most people are familiar with dried oregano, and you can certainly dry it yourself either on its own, or in a combination with your other favourite herbs. It is native to the Mediterranean, so think tomatoes, basil, pizza and pasta! Oregano is a close substitute to marjoram, hence it is often referred to as wild marjoram. Compared to Marjoram, Oregano has a much stronger taste but less distinct fragrant. 

Oregano is an anti-microbial and natural anti-biotic which is commonly used to ease Candida and yeast infections, fungal infections, sinus infections and allergies.

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Rosemary

(Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a commonly grown culinary herb. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible. It goes great with a roast meal, simply sprinkle cut leaves over potatoes, kumara, carrots, parsnips, beetroots, onions and garlic and cut slits into the meat and insert the stem into the pockets before roasting for an irresistible flavour.

Try making your own rosemary infused olive oil by placing fully dry sprigs into a bottle of oil, leave for two weeks in a warm dark place and then strain, it goes deliciously over slices of toasted french stick.

 

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Sage

(Salvia officinalis) 

Sage is delicious with roast chicken, it compliments thyme and rosemary perfectly.  

In the summer, our sage produces stunningly beautiful purplish-blue flowers that you can eat. You can cut the fresh flowers and use them as a decoration on a cake, use them to make herbed vinegar or dry them for potpourri. 

Sage leaves and flowers can be used for sage tea. Just pour hot water over fresh or dried sage leaves and or flowers, let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes and enjoy!

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Tarragon

(Artemisia dracunculus) 

We grow two varieties of tarragon, French tarragon and Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides L.).   

French tarragon is a chef’s preferred variety for cooking but it can only be propagated by root division, a slow and challenging process hence not readily available.  

Russian tarragon can be grown from seeds and is a far hardier plant compared to French tarragon. Though the Russian tarragon is weaker in flavour it provides a good substitute for its French cousin.  

Tarragon has a hint of anise smell and taste, hence a popular use for herb vinegar. If you are researching French cuisine you will come across the term fines herbes. Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes. The other three are parsley, chives and chervil. Fines herbes are a combination of herbs that are considered important in French cuisine in seasoning delicate dishes such as chicken, fish and eggs that need a relatively short cooking period. It is also used to season stews, soups and salad. 

It is known to aid digestion, increase appetite, have a calming effect, fight bad breath and body odour and due to the presence of eugenol, have a numbing effect which people use for toothaches by chewing it.

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Thyme

(Thymus vulgaris)

There are many different varieties of thymes. The best culinary thymes are English thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus). This versatile and flavourful herb is indispensable in any kitchen. It’s my son’s favourite herb because it’s easy to use and he knows he can’t go wrong with it!

Thyme is great in soups, roasts or casseroles. It’s also popular in stuffings, sauces and gravies. You can even add thyme to your normal tea leaves by just adding hot water to enjoy a healthy and refreshing pot of herbal tea. The essential oil in the English thyme, thymol, is an antiseptic. Thyme is widely used in mouthwash for this reason.

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