Herbs in the High Street

Did you know there are edible plants growing in Elgin High Street, ready for you to pick and use?
As part of REAP’s Grow Elgin project to grow more food locally, and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have stocked planters along the High Street with a variety of edible plants. 

How do I know when to pick them?

REAP have a lollypop traffic light system in our planters so that you know when they are ready to be picked.

Green    =  Ready to pick

Orange  =  Not quite ready yet

Red        =  Do not pick

There is a range of different kinds of herbs, as well as a few strawberry and currant bushes. We invite you to help yourself to a bit of fresh food;

  • A few parsley leaves or chives to go in your sandwich,
  • A strawberry or two or a few currants to go with your lunch.
  • Make a cup of fresh herbal tea with a few herb leaves – try the pineapple mint, lemon balm, camomile flowers or fennel.
  • Pick some fresh herbs for dinner. Try some leaves of the thyme, marjoram or rosemary (or all three!) on your pizza or in your pasta sauce.

Please don’t try eating plants out of any of the other High Street planters, just the ones with the REAP logos on the signs!

Can anybody just help themselves?
Yes! The plants are there to be used by anyone and everyone. Be sure to wash what you pick before eating.

How much should or can I take?
Just harvest small amounts for your immediate needs. Three or four herb leaves in boiling water is enough for a herbal cuppa, a small sprig or two of marjoram or oregano will add flavour and vitamins to an Italian style sauce for two. When cooking or making tea with fresh herbs chop or tear them up to help release the flavour.

When shouldn’t I harvest?
Most of the  plants are perennial so they will keep growing year after year if they’re looked after. If you decide you would like some marjoram, but the marjoram plant in the planter you’re looking in looks as if it has already had a few pickings and needs to recover a bit, have a look for the same herb in a different planter – almost all the types of herb are growing in more than one planter. There will be lots of growth on the plants from spring through to autumn and the plants will benefit from pruning. In winter the plants may need to be used more sparingly.

Where are the edible planters in Elgin?

We have raised beds with a variety of edible plants in the cycle hoops in Elgin’s High Street and four raised beds in Cooper Park .

Which herbs are which?
The pictures below will help you identify which herbs you are looking at. There are also some suggestions for what to cook with each. As well as the herbs there are strawberries and currants to eat straight off the bush, or in yoghurt or muesli.

Herbs in the planters include:

Freeze the blue flowers into ice cubes for drinks.borage
Makes a calming tea before bedtime.SAM_1178

Oniony flavour great as garnish, in dips, with potatoes.chives
Use raw in salads or with eggs or cottage cheese.chervil
Use flowers and young leaves as a colourful addition to salads.nasturtium
Use in salads, to flavour sauces, and with fish.Fennel-2
Lemon balm
Makes a refreshing lemon-flavoured tea
.lemon balm
Use orange or yellow petals to add a colourful flourish to salads.marigolds
Use on pizzas and in Bolognese sauce, and in vinaigrette.marjoram
Parsley (leaf and curled)
Use as a garnish, on potatoes, in salads, sandwiches or soups.SAM_1167      parsley 2
Pineapple mint
Makes a refreshing tea, use in sauces with meat, in pea soup.pineapple mint
Use in stuffing and with roast meats, in scones or dumplings.SAM_1177
Use in stuffing, sausages or stews, and Italian-style sauces.Sage
Adds flavour to vinegars and oils, on pizzas and as all-purpose seasoningSAM_1175

REAP’s Grow Elgin Project is funded by the  Climate Challenge Fund