Young Cultivator Merit Badge: All Dried Up, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,428 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,782 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/All Dried Up Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Nora and I put our newfound skill and love of herbs to the test. Or more like, to the taste.

First, we scoured the ‘hood with our handy-dandy kitchen shears, eyeing and spying any fresh herbs we may have missed. Of course, we asked for permission before we picked any. After a lovely walk, we had in our possession:

  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Mexican oregano
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Chives

photo by Silar via Wikimedia Commons

We washed them carefully and blotted them dry. Then we lined them up and admired them for a bit. Then we got down to business …

We learned that fresh basil or mint—really! Either one!—pair wonderfully with watermelon, especially if you add in some feta cheese and a swirl of balsamic vinegar.

photo by Steve Evans via Wikimedia Commons

We put together a dipping oil for French bread that consisted of olive oil, balsamic, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, and chopped rosemary. We could have eaten that for days. And we did.

We made a mild salsa with one onion, three tomatoes, a jalapeno that had been seeded, the juice of one lime, salt, and a nice handful of cilantro. We whirled it up in the food processor. Just add tortilla chips and a hungry tummy!

We sprinkled the fresh parsley on the chicken noodle soup Nora’s mom was making for dinner, and slipped some large basil leaves in between slices of mozzarella cheese and tomatoes.

Nora was becoming quite the expert in all things herby, and I was having fun, too. I always thought I didn’t care for sage, for example, but it turns out I just didn’t like the bitterness of the dried variety. Fresh is super delish! I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving turkey now.

We made plans for our chives—they will be sacrificed to the baked-‘tater gods soon. And the dill … well, I had cukes just waiting to be pickled! As far as the lavender went, we decided to try something with chocolate … Lavender truffles? Why, yes please.

Later that week, Mr. Wonderful was grillin’ up a storm (actually, it was T-bone steaks, but you know what I mean) and I sneakily dabbed a copious amount of rosemary butter on top to melt when he wasn’t looking. Nora and I were becoming Herb Ninjas. Spice Vigilantes. We were out to flavor everything edible …

Today, our ‘hood, tomorrow the world …

Leave a comment 3 Comments

  1. Karlyne says:

    Fresh sage fried in butter brings me to tears. Of Joy.

  2. Krista says:

    I would love to try that lavender chocolate. I would have never thought to mix lavender with chocolate. My tomato plant has a couple of tomatoes about to turn red, so a personal size bowl of salsa sounds delicious right now. Herbs are definitely becoming popular with my cooking.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Fresh herbs do make the best dried ones for your pantry. Every Summer, I grow Basil and dry enough to last until Spring when we can plant again. And Rosemary Butter? That is fantastic on new potatoes as well as grilled squash. Your herb project sounds like a lot of fun for the Young Cultivators.

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