Snow flurries have been spotted in Athens over the past few weeks, but what does this mean for fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs? There are only a handful of crops that can be grown and harvested in the cold, but there is something all of us can grow and harvest during the winter months. As long as you have a window and the willfulness to do so, you can have your very own herb garden right in your kitchen!

There are so many reasons to grow herbs indoors; they add freshness to every meal, greenery to your indoor spaces, and can help you cut back on prices in the grocery store. It’s fairly easy to start your own garden. Most herbs grow well indoors, but you will need a few basics - adequate light, seeds, soil and pots, or if you would want to skip the seed, pick up a handful of herb transplants from the farmers market for a ready to-use-herb garden.

There are so many different herbs you can grow indoors – basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, thyme, chives, mint and more. All need plenty of light to grow. Choose a south-facing window in your home that will allow for 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Don’t forget to make sure your herbs are in well-drained soil and pots as overwater can quickly kill. Try to clip your herbs often to encourage new growth!

Of these herbs previously mentioned, many are in the mint family. The mint we know and love along with basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and sage are all fragrant herbs rich in flavor. They also contain trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Herbs are so important in flavorful cooking; they can add flavor, spice, and freshness to a dish without adding any additional sodium or fat.

When you are ready to harvest your indoor herbs, make sure to not take more than ⅓ of the total plant and rinse before consuming. Because your herbs are right there the best storage practice is to just take as needed.

Recipe: cilantro mint chutney

  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

This Athens Farmers Market Café is a collaboration between the Athens Farmers Market; OU COMCorps, a local Americorps program; and Athens County Children Services. Athens Farmers Market hours are Wednesdays (April-December) and Saturdays (year round), 9 a.m. to noon at the Market on State St. Parking Lot, 1000 E. State St., Athens. To help increase fresh food consumption the Athens Farmers Market vendors proudly participate in the following social service programs: The USDA Food Assistance Program, SNAP/EBT (food stamps), WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Participants can stop by the table at the Southeast corner of the market to get SNAP tokens to spend at the market.

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