Getting your hands dirty in the garden is a lot like getting your hands dirty while cooking--it's a lot of fun. Getting down and dirty in a home garden can provide new opportunities for connecting with and understanding your food, as well as exploring new flavors. If you live in an urban environment or only have a tiny space to work with, an herb garden is a great place to start. Herb gardens, no matter where you live, are totally maintainable and provide a constant source of fresh flavor inspiration.
Despite a living situation that is hardly ideal for a garden, I insist on keeping fresh herbs in my kitchen. Earthy and aromatic, it's my favorite way to infuse low-calorie flavor into my meals. Herbs have always played a well-documented role in savory dishes and cocktails, but what about dessert? Oh... yes.
Herbs' subtle flavor gives incredible nuance to sweet dishes—and I'm not just talking about mint. From basil to lavender and crisps to pops, here's a collection of herbal sweets of all sorts to make your (fast-approaching) summer that much more succulent.
If you're buying mint at the market, look for bright green, crisp leaves with no signs of wilting. Place the stems in a glass containing a couple inches of water, and cover the leaves loosely with plastic wrap or a zip-top plastic bag (do not seal bag). Refrigerate up to one week, changing the water every other day. Fresh mint can also be frozen for later use. Simply rinse the leaves, pat them dry, and freeze them in a zip-top bag (the leaves will darken once they're frozen, but that won't affect the flavor). Later, pull out what you need, and return the rest to the freezer.