Plant, Preserve Herbs for Future Use

Planting season is also the argument season between myself and my husband, who pretends to be an expert on planting vegetables.His expertise is civil engineering, law and politics, subjects that he knows and that I concede to his knowledge.  But he also knows that I have a degree in agricultural engineering, and I worked for two years running a vegetable farm complete with green house farming.  That doesn't seem to matter to him.  He still tells me which kind of tomato plants and what herbs to buy, how far I should space them and how deep they should be planted.  Mind you, he's spreading his expertise from inside the house while I'm outside in the sun using the garden plants he was kind enough to buy for me.One has to consider what he or she intends to do with the herbs once they are grownto maturity.  I've found that two basil plants are enough to supply a family of four with pesto and pasta sauce for the year.  I'm still using herbs I froze last fall.Because cilantro is readily available and inexpensive in the stores virtually year round, it makes little sense to plant it in your garden.My point is that if you intend to use herbs that are expensive or unavailable year around, then it makes sense to plant them. Now how to preserve summer herbs to use in the winter.  Some herbs, such as thyme, mint and oregano, can be dried and used year-round.  They should be dried in the shade, as that will preserve the striking green color of the herb.Others, such as basil and rosemary and sage, taste better when preserved in olive oil.  Wash and air dry the herbs, and puree with olive oil and a bit of salt, which is a preservative.Once prepared in this manner, spoon the herb paste into small plastic or foil , wrap and freeze.  The basil can be used to make pesto on demand--this way you don't waste the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese--, the basil can be used for tomato sauce or grilled vegetables.  Other Herbs can be dropped inside a boiling stew or soup.Here is a recipe in which you can use your garden vegetables and herbs.Summer vegetables with mixed herbsserves 41       large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes2      medium zucchinis, cut into 1-inch cubes1      large bell pepper, cut into thin strips2      large onion, cut into thin strips2      large tomatoes, seeded and diced4      tablespoons olive oil4      tablespoons lemon juice3      cloves garlic, thinly sliced1       cup chopped fresh basil2       tablespoons thyme1        cup chopped fresh parsleysalt and pepper to taste-Place the vegetables on a cookie sheet.  Spray with olive oil spray and broil until golden brown.  Remove from the oven. Place the vegetables in a serving bowl.-Heat the olive oil and sear the  garlic until golden.  Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs. -Add the herb garlic mixture to the broiled vegetables.  Add the lemon juice, the salt and the pepper.  Toss gently and serve hot or cold.