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Top 5 Must-Have Garden Herbs
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Top 5 Must-Have Herbs for Your Garden

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.

 

Find out Dietetic Directions' top 5 must- have #herbs for your garden! Click To Tweet

 

Top 5 Reasons to Enjoy Garden Herbs:

  1. Convenience of having them easily accessible instead of going to grocery store.
  2. Powerful flavour boosters to dishes; allowing you to cut back on salt.
  3. Add a punch of colour to your foods for appealing presentation.
  4. Herbs contain polyphenols, which are plant antioxidants, helpful for fighting diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  5. Bright green-coloured herbs also contain vitamins, A, C and K along with potassium and folate.

 

Andrea’s Top 5 Garden Herbs:



Description

Flavour Profile

Uses

Storage

Italian Parsley

Most common herb in culinary arts


Comes in two types: Italian and Curly parsley  (less flavourful)


Mild, grassy, peppery and slightly bitter


Add to almost anything as a garnish


Sautee with oil and garlic to make a tomato sauce


Include in Greek Lentil Salad or Tabouleh 


Combine with oil and nuts to make a gremolata or pesto


Add to salads for garden fresh taste 


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

Basil


Known as "king of herbs" or "royal herb"


Spicy anise flavour with slight peppery notes


If cooking with basil, always add it at the end


Caprese Salads


Make pesto or cold gremolata to spread over fish, meat, potatoes


Topping for hot or cold pasta, bruschetta, pizzas, stuffed peppers, etc 


Add to fresh salads or make watermelon, basil bocconcini skewers


Basil is ideally stored at room temperature


Here are tips to preserve basil by freezing, puree and put into ice cubes or drying

Chives


A close relative to garlic, shallot, leek and scallion


Delicate onion flavour with a hint of garlic


Add to egg dishes like omelettes, eggs benedict, deviled eggs, quiche


Pairs well with potatoes, cheese and sour cream


Add to fish like sole, smoked salmon


Topping for savory soups like pea soup or lobster chowder


Homemade chive butter or chive-infused oil


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

Mint


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 

Rosemary


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



Loosely wrap in damp paper towel and store in airtight plastic bag


Freeze chopped rosemary into ice cubes, infuse oil with it, or dry leftover herbs

 

 

 

Bottom Line: 

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?