Hey, here’s a fun fact about cooking: it’s best to use fresh herbs rather than dried.
Oh, you knew that already? Well I did too, but I never really thought it was much of an option for me. You know what’s difficult, though? Working out how much dried basil to use when the recipe calls for ‘five leaves’. Five teaspoons? Seems like a little much. Five of those little grains? Doesn’t really look like it’ll cut it.
According to this article, Martha the Great counsels that 1tsp of dried herbs be substituted for 1tbsp of fresh herbs. However, as the article also mentions, it’s still really not the same thing. Last semester I tried to get my hands on small quantities of fresh herbs in the supermarket, but it didn’t turn out to be a reliable or cost-effective solution. So now that I’m in a flat which has (marginally) more sunlight than the one I had in France, I went ahead and bought myself some seeds and started growing.
Or at least, I did my best. I bought a pack of “Mr. Fothergill’s” seed mats to grow cilantro, mint and parsley, and did my best with them. I was dubious about how these would turn out, but then a couple of days ago a small glimmer of green appeared in one of the pots and today I have at least nine sprouts from one of the herbs I planted. Of course, I forgot to mark which variety was which, so I’ll have to wait and see whether it’s mint, cilantro or parsley: unless any of my readers can identify from the picture which it is? I think I’m going to rule out parsley, and the leaves are looking more mint-shaped than cilantro-shaped, but is it too early to tell? My nose isn’t helping me out any, so I’m guessing whatever it is will become more fragrant as it matures.
Meanwhile, the other two pots are looking lifeless and empty. I’m trying to be patient, but I’m also concerned that some vigorous watering might have left the seeds with not enough soil covering them. I topped them up and watered them some more (gently this time), so here’s hoping they’ll pull through within the next few days. I feel like once they’ve germinated it’ll get a little easier.
So, am I right? Do you think this could be the beginning of a mint plant? And if you have any tips about how to help seed mats grow, please do come forward and give me a hand!