Top 5 Must-Have Herbs for Your Garden

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.


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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:


Flavour Profile



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


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


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


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

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?