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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Should I save my Stems ?

I have been harvesting my herbs and I was wondering if I would save the stems. The leaves have a good aroma and flavor and so does the stems. I have been grinding the dry leaves and restocking my herbs supply.

I made some pretty good Hysops tea from the stems today so maybe I should be saving all my stems.

What do you do???
Last edited by Gary350 on Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

What I do depends on the plant and how I plan to use it--fresh? dried? cooked? or even...frozen?

Examples:

Italian flat-leaf parsley--I cut off the thicker end of the stems and chop the rest of the cutting (leaves and small stem) prior to saute-ing for a dish. I would probably dry the same parts. For fresh, non-cooked use, I prefer the texture of the leaves only.

Basil--I use the leaves only, no matter what: tomato dish, pesto whether for fresh use or frozen in ice-cube tray for later use, etc. I put the stems into my compost bin.

Rosemary--Leaves only, most definitely. The stems of my rosemary, which is now a landscape-sized plant, are much too woody for use as anything except maybe skewers. The stems join basil in the compost bin.

I hope my examples give you some ideas; there aren't any specific rules, and no culinary herbs that I'm familiar with have "do not eat" segments.

Enjoy, and bon appetit! :D

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I have a zip-type freezer bag labeled "soup/stock" I toss things like parsley stems and carrot top stems, etc. in it for adding flavor to soups, stocks, and stews. These hard stems are usually cooked whole and then removed. For stews, which get cooked for a long time, I chop up the carrot and parsley stems and leave them in.

Chopped tender leaves I reserve for garnish and add just before serving. :D

Oh, the fragrant stem parts are also good for baths and potpourri. I didn't think you can make tea with them, I'll have to try that.

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applestar
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Just occurred to me that the stems might be good candidates for making herbal vinegars and herb infused oils?

Cynthia, rosemary skewers are nothing to sniff at -- do you have any idea how much they cost in gourmet kitchenware? :wink:

cynthia_h
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How many cubic feet do you want? I think my rosemary is approx. 6' x 15' x 10'.

cynthia

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

WOW! :shock:
This year will be the 3rd time I'll be trying to grow a Rosemary 'Arp' -- one of the only 2 varieties I know of that survives to Zone 6 -- in the ground to overwinter, so it's hard to imagine a Rosemary ... hedge? Is this a single shrub or multiple plants? ... that HUGE! Also, is 6' the height? ... I have to say it again! WOW! :shock:

You could supply an entire Family Reunion or a Garden Party barbeque! Forget Shishkebob! You could provide the stick to spit/roast an entire pig or a lamb! :cool: (Sorry if the imagery is disturbing to vegetarians.)

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