03 February 2011

Making Herbes de Provence

One of my favorite things to cook with is Herbes de Provence. I use it in just about everything. But, as you may know, this seemingly normal blend of culinary herbs can get quite pricey. It’s just something about having a French name that adds a few to the price. Don't think the price reflects import charges either, because the other day I saw a tiny jar at my local grocery store for almost 4 euros!! That is an outrageous price for herbs in Italy and I'm only a few hours from Provence! Fortunately for me, my garden in Sicily has the perfect climate for these herbs and planting them was my first order of duty (after clearing about 15 years of weeds) when we moved in last year. 

After a recent weekend trip to back Sicily, I found my garden overgrown with lavender, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano! I immediately started snipping away in order to bring back copious fruits of my labor. If you have your own herb garden, you can easily make this mixture as well. 

There are several variations of Herbes de Provence, some made with marjoram, savory, basil or fennel seed. But the basic mixture is more or less as follows: 

1 part Thyme
1 part Oregano
1 part Rosemary 
1/2 part Sage
1/4 part Lavender

The best thing about making your own is that you can decide the amounts of each. Remember my no measuring rule? My sage is especially strong, so I put less sage than the rest of the herbs, but I love thyme and was heavier with it than the rest. I also like to add a bit of lavender to my blend, but just a little, as lavender is quite powerful and can easily overwhelm the mixture. But play around with it, that’s what makes it yours. 

After leaving the herbs for several days in the sun to dry, I chopped and mixed it all up and stuck it in a jar! É voilá!

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