Perennial Herbs Grow Quickly in Early Spring

The perennial herbs are re-growing quickly this early Spring. Some of our returning herbs are in the vegetable garden or at the edge of it. Others are in a herb bed in front of the house that receives more sun than those in the garden.

Our list of returning herbs includes –

  • thyme
  • oregano
  • parsley, curled and flat
  • tarragon, russian and french
  • cilantro or coriander
  • chives
  • peppermint
  • spearmint
  • lemon balm
  • chamomile
  • catnip

The herb I’m missing the most is rosemary. Gotta find a rosemary plant this year. It’s one that doesn’t start well from seed, so I’ll be combing through nursery aisles looking for a plant instead.

All of our herbs are easily accessed from the kitchen and that’s something to keep in mind when you’re planting herbs this year. If your herbs are way in the back of the backyard, or somehow not so accessible, then it’s likely you’ll do without them in your cooking. Our herbs are but a few steps away from the kitchen, so even in the middle of cooking dinner I can walk out there, snip a few springs of oregano or thyme and be back inside before anything gets too crispy.

So far this Spring I’ve used the tarragons, parsley, thyme, chives and lemon balm. What herbs have you used from your re-growing herb garden?

15 Bean Soup, Chilies and Chives

Cajun 15-Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage - Beans
Image by I Believe I Can Fry via Flickr

Chilly weather makes soup inviting. In the never-ending quest to find something good to eat, I picked up a package of Hurst’s Hambeens Brand 15 Bean Soup. Twenty ounces of the most colorful collection of dried beans you’ve ever seen.

The bean soup recipe from the package –

  • one pound of ham or sausage
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Soak the beans in 2 qt. water in a large pot overnight. Drain liquid and rinse beans twice. Put on high heat, stirring occasionally until boiling. The directions say to simmer, uncovered for 2 and a half hours, but that wasn’t long enough. It took several hours and some more cooking the next day to get the larger beans soft enough that they didn’t crunch a little. The package states –

Depending on water hardness, cooking time may need to be increased.

Well, I guess we have some really hard water! Anyway, the bean soup turned out great, even if it did take hours to make.

I added a small amount of chopped ham, about half a pound, a can of stewed tomatoes, a cup of diced red onion, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 T lemon concentrate, 2 cloves garlic, and 3 crushed, dried chili peppers seeds and all to the pot before the beans were thoroughly cooked. The added ingredients were cooked so long I thought the soup would have no flavor, but I was wrong. I didn’t add the “flavor packet” that comes with the beans. Only a sprinkle of salt was needed at the table, none was added in cooking apart from that added by the ham.

The next time I think I would cook the beans harder during the initial hour or two of “simmering” time, but realize that using beans of different sizes means that some will take longer to cook.


15 Bean Soup with a dollop of sour cream and cut chives
15 Bean Soup with a dollop of sour cream and cut chives

To dress it up a bit, I went to the garden and snipped a couple of chives leaves for each serving and cut them into small pieces. Added a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled the whole bowl of bean soup with fresh-cut chives. Enjoy!