I harvested my sage and chopped up what I thought was an appropriate amount. Stirring the sage into my dressing, I decided that it didn't quite have the taste I wanted, so I added more, and after another taste, more again. When my dressing was almost green with sage, I decided I'd added enough and stuffed my chicken. The chicken baked to a shiny golden brown, and I proudly served both the bird and its contents.
"What is this?" my husband asked, pointing to the dressing. "It's homemade dressing, with sage from our balcony." I replied. He tasted cautiously. "That's not sage." We both tasted, and confirmed that he was right. After looking up sage in a plant book, I confirmed that I had lovingly nurtured a weed which I had then used to stuff a roast chicken. Surprisingly (given that he is a decent cook himself) he continued to eat my food with no further reference to this potentially dangerous error.
While this early attempt at raising herbs was a misstep, there is something to be said for having a few pots of them outside your kitchen door - and this month and next are a good time to start. Most herbs are basically weeds (my "sage" notwithstanding), and are very tolerant of Darwinian gardening. If you'd like to try growing an herb or two, buy some cheap clay pots, potting soil, and one or more of the following perennial herbs:
- Chive (onion taste, pretty edible flowers in the spring, can also be used in landscaping. Great on potatoes or eggs)
- Mint (extremely invasive - grow only in a pot! Delicious in summer drinks or as a garnish)
- Rosemary (1 - 2' tall, bring indoors below 20 degrees. Try adding to grilled chicken marinade)
- Sage (pretty gray-green leaves on a 12" tall plant; try it in Butternut Squash Soup)
- Thyme (tough little 6" creeping plant; also great in grilled chicken marinade)