There’s just something so appealing about fresh herbs grown right in your kitchen. You know exactly where they came from so you can feel good about feeding them to your family, you don’t have to travel very far to harvest them or worry about waste from cut herbs you don’t use, and you get to enjoy all the health benefits of indoor plants. Plus, you can harvest from these herbs all year long. Here are just a few herbs that deserve a place in your kitchen garden and how to use them to bring your cooking to a whole new level.
Garlic and rosemary are best friends in the kitchen and can totally change the taste of a bland chicken breast. Sprinkle fresh rosemary over roasted potatoes before cooking or use the leaves for grilled meat. Rosemary is also an essential element in many Italian dishes so keep it handy if you like to experiment with European recipes.
Since many gardeners shy away from mint in the outdoor garden due to its hardy, invasive nature, it is a popular plant for container growing. Make mint tea or add to coffee or hot cocoa on those chilly winter day. Make a refreshing mint lemonade in the heat of summer or add to a fresh fruit salad. The possibilities are endless! There are many mint varieties so be sure to select your favorite one.
This green herb serves as a delicious garnish for various meats and adds an excellent balance to stews and soups. It has a mildly bitter flavor that works well to enhance the taste of many foods. Add it to your kitchen garden for awesome versatility and to elevate any dish to gourmet status.
Often confused with parsley, cilantro has a totally different flavor than its equally as popular cousin. This herb is a favorite in Mexican and Chinese cuisine and is most commonly used in guacamole, salsa, and can be delicious in soup or stir fry.
Stevia is a fabulous plant as it is one of the most common (and healthy) sugar substitutes available. The leaves can be dried or used fresh to naturally sweeten a number of dishes and drinks, and the leaves are wonderful to chew on if you find yourself craving a sweet treat.
Tomato and basil. What two plants pair more beautifully? Add fresh basil to virtually any tomato dish to treat your tastebuds to a delicious symphony of flavor. This is one of the most popular kitchen herbs, and with good reason! Its anise-like flavor and intense clove-like aroma make this a must-have for even the most basic cooking.
Adding thyme to many dishes is almost too easy. You don’t have to worry about chopping up the leaves since they are tiny enough to sprinkle directly into your culinary creation. Commonly used in French cooking, this earthy herb can be combined with many other herbs for a unique flavor.
Believe it or not, lavender is not restricted to sweet dishes. It is often grown for salads and dressings and can be paired wonderfully with olive oil to add a slightly floral undertone. Lavender also smells fabulous and is commonly used in aromatherapy to relieve stress and headaches and encourage restful sleep.
Tips for growing kitchen herbs:
Choose a sunny spot
Most herbs need at least 6 hours of bright sunlight each day, so it is vital to keep your plants in a well-lit area. The windowsill is a good choice for a few pots but doesn’t exactly offer a ton of room so it may be a good idea to install a shelf in an unused part of your kitchen.
Select the proper pots
Be sure to choose pots with proper drainage as herbs won’t do well in overly soggy soil. It is a good idea to select containers that are at least 6 inches wide. But remember, the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant, so place frequently used herbs in larger spaces.
Don’t skimp on the soil
Plant your herbs in a fast-draining potting mix rather than regular garden soil as the heavier soil could cause unhealthy root compaction.
What herbs do you have in your kitchen garden? Let us know in the comments below!