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Herbs and Pesto

Planting herbs can be easy and it will add a lot of flavor to your recipes.

Little River County, Arkansas -

Have you started working in your garden or flower bed? Now is a good time to get started with some of the planting and reviving of flower beds. Herbs used to be something that we placed on a shelf or bought in a specialty pack for a gift. Herb gardens are now becoming more popular.  Growing herbs can be easy. Start with basil, dill and cilantro. You can also start with easy perennials such as chives, rosemary, and thyme.  Place the herbs in a place that is sunny and drains well, but also remember to keep it close to the kitchen to make it easy to use.  Herbs can also be grown easily in containers as well.  Make sure to avoid pesticide use on or near herbs since you eat entire plant parts and the fuzzy or crinkled leaves are hard to wash.

A single mint plant may be all you need to stay supplied with mint, although you may need several cilantro plants to keep up with your recipes and homemade salsas. You can always freeze or dry herbs for later use, or share it with a friend!  Snip the herbs right off the top of the plant all season to keep getting a continuous supply of herbs. The best time to cut fresh herbs is in the morning before the mid-day heat hits or after the sun as set in the evening.  Start off adding a little of the herbs to your cooking to see how well you like it. The herbs should always be a compliment to the flavor and not overpower the dish. Fresh cut herbs must be used within a few days otherwise you can freeze it. Once you cut the herbs place a damp paper towel inside the plastic bag in the refrigerator. See the table for more detailed information about some annual herbs.

Annual   Herbs




Sweet   basil – needs sun

20-24   inches

6-12   inches

Grows   easily from seed; use in soups, stews, pasta sauce, meat dishes, etc.

Cilantro   (coriander) – needs sun or partial shade

24-36   inches

12-18   inches

Grows   easily from seed; entire plant is edible; use in many meat dishes and salsa,   etc.

Dill   – needs sun or partial shade

3-5   feet

3-12   inches

Sow   seed early spring; seasoning for salads, fish, soups, etc.

Parsley   – needs sun

6-18   inches

6   inches

Sow   seed early; use as garnish, or in soups, sauces, salad dressings, etc.


Save this recipe to use with all the basil you grow this summer!


1 cup basil, fresh
1 clove garlic
½ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
2 ½ tbsp. olive oil

In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also freeze it in freezer bags to use at a later date. Makes 5 tablespoons.  Each tablespoon has about 90 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate and 0 g sugar.

If you would like more information about healthy foods, please call the Little River County Extension office at (870) 898-7224 or email  Always feel free to stop by our office at 1411 N Constitution Ave in Ashdown to receive more information. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Research and Extension. The Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
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By Celeste Scarborough
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Celeste Scarborough
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1411 N Constitution Ave Ashdown, AR 71822
(870) 898-7224

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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