The Best Herbs to Plant in an Oklahoma Garden

Oklahoma’s clay soil make is a little tricky to plant herbs, but don’t let that deter you from planting the herb garden of your dreams! With a little prep and planning, you can have a beautiful herb garden no matter if you have a big backyard or small apartment patio.

Culinary herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary are a great way to add fresh flavor to all your favorite recipes.

Getting Started

For a beginner gardener, it easier to start your garden from plants rather than seeds. When picking a location for your garden, pick a location with adequate, daily sun and is easy for you to water.

If creating a patio garden, chose containers that have holes in the bottom for water draining. You can choose from plastic, clay or terracotta pots for herb planting. If creating a garden in your yard, make sure your ground soil is prepared for planting. Break up old, hard soil with a gardening shovel and add healthy compost to provide nutrients. For potted plants, soil is equally important. Fill pots with well-draining, loose soil.

If your backyard soil is to clay-like, you may need to build garden boxes off the ground to fill with a healthy mixture of store-bought soil and compost.

How often you’re required to water will depend on the type of herbs you plant and how sunny the location they’re planted in is. As your garden grows, watering will become more intuitive.

Thyme

Grow thyme in a sunny, slightly dry corner of your garden or porch. It likes a well-draining soil and lots of sun. Be sure to trim it back when it starts to flower.

Flavor Pairings

Thyme has beautiful, light notes of pine, pepper and lemon. It’s perfect for fish, chicken, potatoes and lemon.

Rosemary

Rosemary is incredibly sturdy. It does best with good sunlight (about six to eight hours), sandy, well-draining soil and fresh air.

Flavor Pairings

Rosemary has a peppery, aromatic taste. It pairs well with roasted veggies like potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. It can also compliment citrus notes, cranberries, seafood, Italian dishes, meat and cheese.

Basil

Basil needs about six to eight hours of sunlight. You can tell it needs watering when its leaves begin to wilt. Be sure to trim it down as it flowers.

Flavor Pairings

Basil is an essential Italian flavor. Pair it with classics like tomato, olive oil, garlic and mozzarella. Grilled summer vegetables like zucchini and yellow squash will be taken up a notch with a few fresh ribbons of basil. Basil pesto anyone? In a food processor, chop together fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts or walnuts and olive oil for a rich, flavorful sauce.

Sage

Sage is a very forgiving plant to grow, but it does best in a sunny area. Like thyme, it prefers well-draining soil. It’s fairly drought resistant and needs to be watered once the soil is completely dry. Unlike other herbs, it doesn’t lose flavor intensity as it grows and doesn’t get bitter once it flowers. It grows well both in a pot or a ground garden.

Flavor Pairings

Warm and fragrant sage works wonderfully with meats like lamb and sausages. It pairs well with other spices like thyme, rosemary and oregano. Pair it with a butter garlic sauce or add it to flavor tomato sauces, risottos, pesto and beans.

Mint

While it doesn’t mind sunshine, mint needs some shade. Protect it from direct, harsh sunlight. Mint needs soil that is slightly moist but well-draining. If you have tomatoes in your garden, try to plant mint near it. Many pro gardeners consider mint to be tomatoes companion herb. Companion herbs can help ward off pest and encourage pollination.

Flavor Pairings

Mint is incredibly fresh. It loves citrus notes like orange and it goes great with summer berries like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Chop some up to put in a fruit salad or add it to Mediterranean dishes like tabbouleh or lamb.

Want to freshen up all the water you’ll need to keep hydrated this summer? Try flavoring water with blackberry, lime and mint or even a combination of cantaloupe, honey and mint!

Parsley

Parsley is easy to grow in a home garden. It does well in full sun or partial shade. It prefers a moister soil than other herbs, just be careful not to over water it.

Flavor Pairings

Parsley is a wonder herb. It’s slightly sweet yet slightly bitter flavor and vibrant green color make it a grand finish for many dishes. Use a fresh bunch to make chimichurri sauce for grilled steaks or chop it finely and add to a pasta salad or tabbouleh. Sprinkle it on top of frittata, breakfast casserole or sautéed veggies for added flavor and color.

Oregano

Oregano likes full sun and well-draining soil. Like sage, do not water it until the soil is completely dry.

Flavor Pairings

Warm, savory tasting oregano is Mexican oregano, while Mediterranean oregano is slightly minty. Use both in marinades for chicken, or to flavor homemade dinner rolls and flatbreads.

Homeland Herbs

Don’t fret if your herb garden doesn’t go according to plan. Whether you have a green thumb or a knack for drying out your flowerbed, Homeland Stores have you covered with fresh herbs and every dry seasoning imaginable. Visit your local store to stock up on flavors for all your summer dishes!’

Celebrate National Strawberry Month with 3 Summertime Desserts

Each spring, the strawberries are among the first fruits to ripen. The fruit has been cultivated around the world for its flavor and aroma since the 17th century. Today, we use strawberries for everything from flavoring foods like preserves and milkshakes to using their pleasant smell in hand lotions and lip gloss.

Since May is National Strawberry Month, we’re sharing recipes for our favorite simple strawberry desserts to celebrate. We’ll let you celebrate with us – just pick one of these delightful dishes and start tantalizing the taste buds of your dinner guests.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Brownies

If you crave chocolate to go with your chocolate, this treat is for you. It doesn’t take many ingredients and it looks so pretty you can serve it for fancy occasions.

What you need:

  • One package of your favorite brownie mix (and all the ingredients)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, cut in half
  • 2 ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Bake your favorite brownie mix the way you always do. We suggest using parchment paper to line the pan and using an 8 x 8-inch dish. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Then, create a layer of strawberries across the top of the brownies, cut side down against the brownies.

Place all the chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. Heat the heavy cream on the stove in a small pan over medium heat. Once the cream begins to have bubbles breaking the surface around the edges, turn off the heat. Add the hot cream to the bowl with the chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes. Take a whisk and combine until smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the strawberry layer and refrigerate for 15 minutes or so until the chocolate layer has set. Serve cold.

Simple Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

You don’t need any special equipment to make this no-churn ice cream. A stand mixer helps, but isn’t required – you can use a hand mixer too.

What you need:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2+ cups strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped angel food cake

Use the whisk attachment on your mixer to beat the heavy cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in the other ingredients. Transfer mixture into a loaf pan or shallow serving bowl. Top with some additional strawberries and any cake pieces leftover.

Freeze until firm, usually takes about five hours. Remove from freezer and serve in your choice of fancy dish, ice cream cone, or waffle bowl.

Strawberries S’mores Style

You’ve got the freedom to create your own perfect concoction with this recipe idea. If you want to add to it, the sky is the limit.

What you need:

  • 24 whole, fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 24 cinnamon cracker pieces
  • Kabob-style skewer

Use a small heat safe bowl to heat marshmallow fluff until melted, it only takes five to eight seconds. Use the skewer to pierce the strawberry and dip it in the fluff. Roast the marshmallow end over a flame (you can use a stove or a candle) until toasted. Place each strawberry on a cinnamon cracker and top with the toasted marshmallow fluff.

Add chocolate squares or drizzle chocolate syrup if you want it to taste more like a traditional s’more. Let your creativity take over and have fun.

Celebrate Strawberry Month

No matter if you choose to enjoy one of these desserts, a milkshake, or to simply add strawberries to your morning cereal, remember that you’re celebrating and add a smile to your meal. If you’re looking for an effortless way to get your groceries delivered for your celebration, look no farther than Instacart. You’ll have all you need to start the celebration in no time.