Top 5 Must-Have Herbs for Your Garden
(and cool ways to use them!)
This year, I planted my first herb garden! This year I also discovered my top 5 must-have garden herbs. The idea came after feeling frustrated going to the grocery store to buy separate herbs and having them go bad before I could use them. I knew that planting a small herb garden would be the solution. Gardening is also something that is close to my heart. My grandpa was a gardener and owner of a greenhouse in St. Jacob’s. From a young age, I enjoyed beautiful flowers, nurturing plants and watching them grow. Therefore, this June, I sauntered into the grocery store to buy fresh potted herbs to transplant into larger outdoor planters.
In my blog today, I’ll share my top 5 favourite herbs to plant along with cool ideas for using them in your diet.
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Top 5 Reasons to Enjoy Garden Herbs:
- Convenience of having them easily accessible instead of going to grocery store.
- Powerful flavour boosters to dishes; allowing you to cut back on salt.
- Add a punch of colour to your foods for appealing presentation.
- Herbs contain polyphenols, which are plant antioxidants, helpful for fighting diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- Bright green-coloured herbs also contain vitamins, A, C and K along with potassium and folate.
Andrea’s Top 5 Garden Herbs:
Most common herb in culinary arts
Comes in two types: Italian and Curly parsley (less flavourful)
Mild, grassy, peppery and slightly bitter
Place cut parsley stems in water upright. Can store at temperature
If storing in the fridge, loosely place plastic bag over top of parsley in water. Parsley in fridge lasts up to two weeks
Known as "king of herbs" or "royal herb"
Spicy anise flavour with slight peppery notes
Basil is ideally stored at room temperature
Here are tips to preserve basil by freezing, puree and put into ice cubes or drying
A close relative to garlic, shallot, leek and scallion
Delicate onion flavour with a hint of garlic
To store chives, wrap in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag for a few days in fridge
Freeze chives by laying them on parchment paper in the freezer and then transferring to a plastic bag for storage
Many different types: spearmint and peppermint are most common
They can aggressively spread in the garden
Fresh icy, refreshing taste
Infuse water with mint, lasts for 3 days in fridge
Often used with lamb, veal and pork dishes
Add to desserts and sorbet as garnish
Refreshing beverages like lemonade or a mojito
Add to salads, pesto, tabouleh, quinoa dishes
Store standing in water in fridge with loose plastic bag on top
Dampen leaves in a paper towel and store in plastic bag in fridge
Freeze in ice cube tray to add to beverages or smoothies
Fragrant herb with needle-like leaves
Native to the Mediterranean regions
Piney, floral and sweet
Add to savoury dishes like grilled chicken, roasted lamb, steak, etc
Topping for foccacia bread
Crunchy rosemary roasted chickpeas
Infuse with olive oil
Roasted veggies like rosemary roasted red skinned potatoes, with rosemary or savoury lentil salads
If you are into gardening or looking to experiment more in the kitchen, consider planting a herb garden. It’s not too late to start now or plan for next spring. Be sure to choose your herbs based on your preferences, ease of use and your outdoor conditions, like sun exposure. My favourite herbs include: Italian parsley, basil, chives, mint and rosemary. What are your favourites and how do you enjoy using them in your diet?