Fall & Winter Recipes, Gifts That Keep On Giving, Harvest Time, Make Food & Eat
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What To Do With Budding Herbs

Are the tops of your herbs starting to flower? By gently plucking or clipping the flowering tops off, you can keep those nutritious plants continuing to thrive with healthy leaves. Now that you’ve cut those tops off, toss them into your compost or try one of our Garden Eats home-grown recipes and projects!

Herby Crisp Room Spray

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 medium size spray bottles (dark bottles or amber glass best)
  • 1 750mL bottle vodka
  • 3 generous handfuls of herbs (we love using lemon basil)
  • 1/2 gallon distilled water

Putting It All Together:

  1. Fill each spray bottle halfway with vodka.
  2. Add herbs, cover and shake well for 10 seconds.
  3. Fill remaining bottle with distilled water.
  4. Cover, store in a dark cool place for two weeks.
  5. After two weeks, shake and spray to freshen your home!

Herbal Water
Combinations of lavender and lemon verbena or sage and lavender infuse well together.

What You’ll Need:

  • Gallon spring water
  • 5 handfuls of herbs

Putting It All Together:

  1. Pour 2 cups of water into a glass.
  2. Add herbs.
  3. Replace as much water back in gallon that will fit.
  4. Cover, place in a brown bag for three days and drink! Tastes great over fresh squeezed lemon or limes.

Soothe a Cold or Headache Pillow

What You’ll Need:
We use a combination of mints, lavender and lemon verbena or lemon basil

  • Depending on how many pillows, several large handfuls of herbs.
  • Ready to go small-medium silk sachets or 2 soft clean cotton fabric approximately 5 x 3 inches
  • Needle
  • Thread

Putting It All Together:

  1. Allow herbs to dry.
  2. Once dried keep flowers and leaves while setting aside stalks/stems (for the project below).
  3. Either insert dried herbs into pre-made sachets and thread open end closed or hand-sow cloth together on three sides, turn inside-out, fill with herbs and carefully sew open side closed.

Fire Starters
If you live in a cool weather place, these make great fire starters. Depending on what projects you decide to use your herbs for, save all of the stems/stalks neatly for this easy project.

What You’ll Need:

  • Dried herb stems/stalks
  • Possibly non-treated twine or thread

Putting It All Together:

  1. On a large surface, lay out neat piles of uniformly sized stems/stalks.
  2. If any of the herby stalks are malleable, tie each bundle well with. If not, use your twine.
  3. Store to be used in your indoor or outdoor fireplace as fire starters.
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C H R I S T I N E Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID and Garden Eats is an integrative health & food therapy specialist, medical & food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. To balance the more serious side of her work, she loves to concoct, write about and connect people through food & drink. You can check out her latest work at The Chalkboard Magazine, The Fullest and Rochester's Boomtown Table. Christine lives, works and plays between Southern California & Upstate New York.


  1. I have heard that if I place plastic baggies over the flowers that said flowers will yield up seeds for plants the following year. Have you tried this? I have a Thai basil plant that was hard to find and I would love to have seeds to start another one next spring. — Sharyn

    • Thai basil is amazing isn’t it!

      This is definitely the time of year to let that plant bloom if you want seeds for next year. Yes, you can use the plastic bags over the plants, yet we haven’t found that process necessary.

      Wait for the flowers to turn brown in color. When you rub the carpels between your fingers, they will break open releasing the seeds.

      Is it windy in your location this time of year? You may want to place trays beneath the plants in the event that seeds may blow around, but the carpels stick fairly well until plucked.

      There’s also a great resource called Seed Savers International. You can order/trade just about anything you want.

      If you’re into seed saving, I’d suggest doing a blog post about it to see if anyone in your locale would like to trade. This way you’ll have a plentiful store of your favorites for next year!

      Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Christine,

    I know about Seed Savers, but I have never saved seeds myself before — I do best with perennial herbs like mint and chives, but it would be great if I didn’t have to buy any plants (It’s the economy talking).

    • Ah yes, agreed. Saving your own is always best. We love trading too. Be sure to keep your plants in the sun, they’ll do better that way this time of year for sure (but you likely know this).

      Find us on FB: http://facebook.com/gardeneats and keep us posted with your progress. Everyone can benefit from a photo of your experience!

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