An herb garden is a way for you to save money and save a few trips to the grocery store, but it all depends on what you plant. Try adding these handy herbs.
Would you believe us when we say that herbs essentially shaped the modern world and created imperialism? When Europeans discovered herbs and spices found in the Middle East, India, and Asia, they scrambled to get as many of them as they could.
People set up trade routes, claimed land in those areas, and changing the economic landscape of the world as we know it, all because of herbs and herb gardens.
Pretty wild that simple herbal plants changed how we trade and exchange goods. Not only that, but they're responsible for herbal medicines that have been used for thousands of years and defining various cuisines around the world!
Are you a home chef looking to spice up (pun intended) your masterpieces? A gardener looking to expand your crops? Or are you an herbalist looking to create natural medicines at home?
Whatever the case, you're looking to start up your own herb garden and need a starting point. Keep reading to learn 6 of the most useful herbs and plants to get your herb garden started.
Basil is a versatile plant that has a slightly peppery taste. It's a staple in Mediterranean diets found in salads, sauces, spreads, and more.
It's sensitive to cold, so only plant basil in an outdoor garden during the late spring and throughout the summer. The good news is that basil thrives in indoor kitchen gardens all year!
Try it fresh in a Caprese salad or on top of a fresh pizza. Or, you can dry it and store it for use in soups, sauces, and more.Basil has medicinal uses, too. Most people use it to treat stomach issues like nausea, bloating, and stomach upset. Some find that it can be used in salves to help with skin problems like insect bites, acne, and warts.
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, so much so that it can overtake your garden if you're not careful! It's often best to confine mint in a container.
Fresh tea can be brewed in hot or cold water to make a refreshing tea. It also makes a great addition to cocktails (watermelon mint mojito, anyone?). In terms of food, it can be made into a mint jelly, added to salads for an interesting kick, and even blended into smoothies.
Mint can be dried as well, which many people use to make herbal tea.
It also is commonly used as an herbal remedy for:
You can eat mint directly to get these effects, brew it into a tea, or rub it on your teeth to get that fresh taste/smell.
This herb is a bit controversial: about half of the population has a gene that causes them to think cilantro tastes like soap. The other half can enjoy the taste of this awesome herb that's found in many Indian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian cuisines.
The fresh leaves make a great addition to Vietnamese pho, Mexican salsa, guacamole, Indian curries, and more. Cilantro, like basil, doesn't do well with the cold. It can be grown outside in bright and sunny months as long as the soil is rich and moist.
It also grows very well in containers, especially in sunny windowsills.
4. Ashitaba Plant
To get these benefits, you simply eat the leaves. They're delicious fresh in salads and soups, but they can also be dried or ground to make tea or add into smoothies and beverages.
It needs rich soil to thrive and is best grown in cooler, damper areas. Consider a shady spot for your Ashitaba plant in order to get the best herb yield.
Chives provide an onion-like flavor to your culinary creations. Unlike Ashitaba, chives aren't very picky, which makes them very easy to grow. As long as they can get around 5 hours of sun per day and don't completely dry out, they can grow anywhere.
Chop them up in mashed potatoes, add them to your morning omelet, or eat the flowers (yes, they're edible!) in a summer salad. They've also been used throughout history to ward off evil spirits and illness!
Looking for intense flavor? Sage is for you.
This little savory herb packs a peppery and strong punch to any dish you add it to. It goes great with Italian dishes like pasta, soup, and sauces. It's also great in stuffing and meat seasonings/rubs.
Sage is also interesting because of how it grows: the larger the leaf, the stronger and more intense the flavor! Sage is also used in herbal medicines to treat things like:
Low immune system
Oral health issues
It's a low growing shrub that does best in fertile, but somewhat dry, soil. It also likes sunny areas, but it can thrive throughout the year.
Go Green: Get Your Herb Garden Started Today!
Growing and cultivating your own at-home herb garden with the 6 herbs we just went over will set you up to create all types of cuisine. Not only that, but it will also provide you with some key herbal remedies and give you the opportunity to test out your green thumb.
These 6 herbs are awesome ingredients for all of your home cooking creations.And as a chef, you know that your kitchen can quickly become overrun with herbs, spices, ingredients, cookbooks, pots, pans, and more. Be sure to check out this article on how best to organize your fridge to keep things tidy and fresh for your next recipe!