This past week, Lajoiedu and I had a Facebook conversation about fresh herbs. She bought a bunch of different kinds for her garden and asked what she could do with them once they started thriving in summer heat. I don't know where Lajoiedu lives but I was feeling very herbacious myself. I'd planted some in our backyard bed, been harvesting sprigs from the garden (which encourages growth), and been buying bodacious bunches at the farmers’ market and Asian markets (I’m a sucker for good deals on herbs). It's as if fresh herbs are suddenly everywhere.
Right now, the herbs at Asian markets are super lush. The leaves are ginormous, which makes me wonder a bit how they got the leaves so big, but I also noticed that warm weather has stoked the mint growing in front of our local hippie health food store. Then I remembered that the size of herb leaves depends on the variety. Whatever that sells at my Chinese-Vietnamese market is huge.
The two bunches I bought for the recent pho class were the equivalent of 3 bunches each. I used up just a small amount for class and kept the rest in water in the fridge with a produce bag covering it to keep them perky. I had spearmint and spicy mint (hung cay, on the right above), which has an extra layer of heat despite its tender looking leaves.
Growing basil challenges me (the bugs love them) so I buy it from the Asian market and regular farmer’s market. Right now, on a weekly basis, Hmong farmer Tra Her supplies me with Thai purple, lemon and holy basil. We’re trade tips and recently she shared: