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My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … CJ Armstrong!

CJ Armstrong (ceejay48, #665) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning an Expert Level Herbs Merit Badge!

“Using herbs in our food preparation is nothing new. My husband and I have both used all kinds of herbs in our cooking for years.

The most commonly used and popular herbs in our house are probably:
-OREGANO, which we use in all kinds of pasta sauces, pizza, burgers, other beef dishes and even sprinkled in green salad.
-CUMIN is a favorite for our Mexican food dishes, of which there is a huge variety, sauces, and eggs
-ROSEMARY also for pasta dishes, but also for chicken, pork, and turkey and in breads
-SAGE is a favorite for chicken, turkey, and beef dishes of every description
-BASIL is also a favorite for pasta dishes, sauces, beef dishes, and eggs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are just a few basics that we’ve used for much of our married life. I actually have two herb gardens. The first one was planted after we built our log house on the property my dad deeded to us from the farm. In that garden I have oregano, savory, chives, and mint.

We harvest these herbs all through the season and use them fresh in our meal preparation. I also dry them and store away for winter use. They are relatively easy to grow and use and add such fragrance and flavor to meals. The mint makes great iced tea!

The second herb garden was planted about six years ago, and in it we have lemon basil, thyme, chives, parsley, sage, basil, and chocolate mint. Because rosemary is not a perennial, I have to plant it every year, which I do, and we also harvest rosemary.

As with all of our herbs, we harvest fresh when it is ready. We also dry a lot of all we grow and store for winter use, and every year I make up packages of dried herbs to give at Christmas to family and some friends who enjoy it.

When we have a lot growing fresh, I also cut some to share with neighbors. I like to include “herb recipes” that give suggestions for the different herbs for things like pasta sauce; ethnic cooking such as Mexican, Italian, Oriental, Caribbean, etc.; roasting turkey, chicken or beef; baking fish; in egg dishes; and even using very finely chopped chocolate mint in brownies or chocolate cake.

I plan to do some shopping for something new and different to add to my herb garden. We use them always, enthusiastically and very ‘thoroughly’! The photo is just a sampling of some of the dried herbs we have and that I have shared.”

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