Nothing beats cooking with fresh herbs. The flavour cannot be compared to dry herbs, unless of course you dried them yourself! With a little effort and a few simple supplies, no matter where you live, whether it is an apartment or house, you can have an indoor herb garden year round! Place them in a sunny window of you kitchen and enjoy fresh herbs every day!
Here is a list of the 10 most popular herbs, their characteristics and some uses; follow the easy potting directions for a hassle-free indoor herb garden.
Things you need:
|Herb||Characteristics and Uses||How to start||Best locatio|
|Basil||Sunny flavour, sweet. Use ongreen beans, potatoes, peas, tomato sauces,chicken dishes, salads. Add on prepared dishor at end of cooking time||Basil is best started from seed. Sow seeds generously in pots-don’t plant too deep- 1/4-1/2”||Basil needs lots of humidity and sun – cut the bottom off a litre bottle of pop and put over basil to create a “terrarium” effect- keep moist but not wet|
|Bay Leaf||Mint like, pungent Used in gumbos,sauces, stews||Bay Laurel is a tree and will grow best if purchased as a seedling. Plant in a pot that will allow for a tap root-transfer when roots come out the bottom||Water deeply; allow soil to dry out slightly in between.Bring indoors before the hard frost and put outside after the frost period. Mine does best in my cold kitchen next to a window.|
|Chives||Mild onion flavour. Use as final flavour or at end of cooking or garnish. Chop, snip Great with potatoes dishes, eggs, poultry,salads, sauces||Dig up clumps at end of season – let all leaves die back||Bring indoors in early winter-place in coolest part of house for a few days, then move to sunny spot|
|Dill||Dominating- tangy & pungent Seeds have strong flavour. Salmon, cucumber yogurt sauces,peas, salads, picklingeggplant, cabbage||Start from seed or clumps -best time to plant dill inside is between October and early spring. Fern leaf dill is ideal or indoors||Fertilize every 6 weeks with a ½ strength liquid fertilizer or fish fertilizer. Dill is drought resistant; it will grow better if watered regularly. Water until soil is moist-do not water again until soil is dry.|
|Mint||Sweet and strong Peppermint and spearmint Teas, lamb, fish, desserts, salads.||Start from seed or buy a small plant from organic grocer||Needs full sun plenty of water – watch them grow!|
|Oregano||Adds an earthy flavour Lamb, tomato sauces, seafood,chicken, pork, eggplant||Start from seed or buy a small plant from organic grocer||Oregano likes bright light 6-8 hrs, medium watering|
|Bright, clean flavour Chicken, seafood, beef, sauces,potatoes, soups, salads||Startfrom seed; plant 1/4 to ½ deep; water deeply||Full sun-Keep soil moist as the seeds germinate Establish a watering schedule, allowing to dry some between watering|
|Rosemary||Pungent, piney can overpower other flavours Chop finely Add to poultry, lamb,, fruit saladspotatoes, white beans, breads||Propagate from a healthy mother plant: Snip several 2 1/2” (6 1/3cm) stems.Remove bottom set of leaves from your cuttings.Dip the bottom of each cutting in water, thendip the bottom of each cutting into a rooting compound.Fix each cutting into its own container.Mist your plant. In 2-4 weeks, once rooted, you can transfer to a larger pot.||Pinch the top bud to increase the likelihood of your rosemary branching. Use neem oil to treat any pests. If powdery mildew develops, clean leaves with mild soapy water and place in front of a fan to circulate the air|
|Sage||Slightly bitter- mint-like Overpowers easily Add whole stems to stews and soups-discard when done. Pork, sausages, veal, stuffing,poultry, sauces.
Dried sage has a different flavour
|Start from seed or buy a small plant from organic grocer||Sage needs six to eight hours of full sun daily. If your sunny window does not provide this much daily sun, use fluorescent lighting when growing sage indoors.|
|Tarragon||Liquorice flavour; strong. Use alone or combine with parsley -tomato dishes, vinaigrettesveal, chicken, potatoes, mushrooms||Best started from root stock that has been separated||Tarragon seems to perform best in a lower or diffused light situation-does not perform well when exposed to winter chill.|
With these herbs in your cooking collection you are off to a GREAT start and some wonderful seasoning.