More Great Recipes for Using Herbs

by Deborah Prosser, Get In Shape Health and Fitness Editor

Autumn has arrived and if you have plenty of herbs left in your garden you may be looking for ways to use them before the cold weather and frost destroy them.

Here are some great recipes for using herbs that you’ll want to make and keep available during the long winter months until next year’s crop is ready.

They are sure to add flavor and goodness to your healthy dinner recipes.


Herb Butter


1 qt of whipping cream

1 tbsp chopped herbs (chives, oregano, parsley, etc)

1 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of coarse ground peppercorns (can be mixture of black, red or white)

Juice of 1 lemon



With an electric mixer, whip cream on high speed until the cream forms into a butter consistency.  Discard any excess liquid.  Mix on low the butter and remaining ingredients until evenly mixed throughout.  Shape the herbed butter into a log or use any form you like. Wrap tightly with plastic or parchment paper and freeze until firm.




Herbal Pesto


Pesto is made with fresh herbs (basil or parsley).  Pesto and can be used as a spread on top bread and cheese, rubbed on meats before cooking, or used as a pasta sauce.  Whatever way you use pesto it is sure to be a flavor booster anytime.



¼ cup pine nuts (walnuts make a good substitute)

3 cups of fresh basil leaves packed down tightly (or parsley)

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

½ cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil



A food processor or a good blender will work fine for making pesto.  First chop the nuts and combine with other ingredients before adding oil.  Use whatever speed you want to get the consistency you desire. Add more oil if needed.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender a couple of times to keep the same consistency throughout the mixture.


If you have left over pesto put it in ice trays and freeze.  Once frozen place the pesto cubes in a plastic bag or container and keep in the freezer.  Add the cubes to sauces for a quick and delicious meal anytime.



 Roasted Garlic

For garlic lovers roasting garlic is a great way to soften its strong flavor so it can be later used to enhance many recipes.  Cook 6 to 12 garlic bulbs at one time so you will always have some on hand. 


  • Use whole garlic bulbs and carefully remove the outer skins layers leaving just the skins on the individual cloves attached to the garlic bulb.

  • Cut the tips off the cloves just enough to open the tops of the individual cloves.

  • Place the whole garlic bulb stem side down with the cut clove side up on a cookie sheet or in a muffin tray.

  • Pour a teaspoon of olive oil to coat each garlic bulb.  May need more oil if garlic bulbs are large.

  • Cover with foil wrap.

  • Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft to the touch.

When the garlic bulbs have cooled to the touch, squeeze out the softened garlic from the individual cloves.  Add some roasted garlic to pasta sauces, mashed potatoes, or blend into butter or oils, use it as a spread on cheese, or add some to bread dough.  Garlic not only tastes great in so many dishes it is also good for you heart.  Your family will love the flavor of roasted garlic and enjoy the health benefits s well.


Flavored Cooking Oils

Infusing herb flavors in oil is a great way to add their subtle tastes to salads, pastas and other side dishes.  The trick to making flavorful oils is to first blanch the leaves of fresh herbs in boiling water for 10 seconds.  This helps to keep their fresh green color.  Once you have blanched the leaves you can add them to oil and let sit to infuse the herbal flavor.  Another method is to simply puree the blanched leaves with roasted garlic and add the mixture to olive oil.  Experiment with herbs and oils to find different blends that will compliment your food tastes.

Make A Herb Jelly

To make herb jelly, gather about 2 cups of your favorite fresh herb leaves. Wash and drain them, coarsely chop and put in a medium sized saucepan.  Crush with the bottom of a glass to macerate the leaves and add 2 cups of water.  Slowly bring to a boil, and boil for just 10 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes to release the flavor.  Strain 1 ½ cups of the liquid from the pan and strain again into another large, deep saucepan.  

Mix herbal liquid with:

  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar or distilled vinegar,

  • a dash of salt

  • 3 ½ cups of granulated sugar.

Have on reserve:

  • 3 ounces of liquid pectin (this will be added after the mixture has been boiled)

  • 2 sterilized pint jars (or 4 ½ pint jelly jars) with canning lids (melted paraffin wax may be used if not using the 2 lid canning covers).

Stir mixture until sugar is dissolved then bring mixture to a hard boil, stirring constantly. When the boil can't be stirred down, add the 3 ounces of liquid pectin.  Return to a frothing boil again and boil for exactly one minute, then remove saucepan from the heat.

Skim off the foam and pour the hot jelly into the jelly jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space and seal at once. Making jellies like this one using different herbs or fruits means you’ll have plenty of jelly to give as gifts and people will love their fresh tastes throughout the year.


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