Herbs are some of nature’s best multi-taskers. From adding flavor to your food to curing ailments, is there anything herbs can’t do?
For thousands of years, herbs have been used to flavor foods, as medicinal, and as a preservative. Culinary herbs are herbaceous plants used to flavor and color a variety of dishes.
If low-fat or low-salt dishes taste bland, add herbs to almost any dish, even sweets, to improve the flavor.
Fresh herbs have a delicate flavor, and they’re also easy to grow right at home! Before we dive into all the herbs that you can grow at home, let’s have a look at what herbs are and their never-ending benefits.
What Are Herbs?
Herbs are the leaves of plants used in cooking and can be used fresh or dried. Herbs are an excellent sustainable method to add flavor and color to any food or drink, sweet or savory, without adding oil, salt, or sugar.
They each offer their unique set of health-promoting characteristics, in addition to flavor and color. If you taste your cuisine as you go, you’ll be able to know if you’ve added enough.
If not enough herbs are used, there will be no change in the meal’s flavor; yet, if too many herbs are used, their flavor will overshadow other components.
Benefits of Using Herbs
Herbs may aid in preventing and managing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It may also aid in preventing blood clots and have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor qualities.
Fresh herbs frequently have higher antioxidant levels than processed or dried herbs. To maintain the characteristics of fresh herbs, add them towards the end of cooking or when you serve them.
Herbs Give More Flavor To Your Food
Using dried herbs is generally less expensive and handier than using fresh ones.
You may be able to use dried oregano or rosemary in cooking without sacrificing too much taste in some circumstances, such as oregano or rosemary.
However, fresh is usually always the tastier alternative. You don’t have to worry about this difficulty if you plant herbs. You always have fresh herbs on hand.
It’s still a good idea to keep some dried on hand in case of need, but you’ll normally snip off a fresh leaf.
Herbs Are Easy To Grow Indoors
While you may find greater variety at your local farmer’s market, the fresh herbs available at your grocery store are very restricted.
You can purchase parsley, basil, and thyme, but anything else may be difficult to find. You can grow whatever you find seeds for when you start your own herb harden.
Are you a sage fan? Develop it. Do you prefer chervil or tarragon? You can also grow those. You’re only limited by the number of pots that will fit in your space.
You can even cultivate unusual, popular herbs like Thai basil and lemon thyme.
Growing Your Own Herbs is Inexpensive
Keeping your vegetable drawer and spice cabinet stocked can get pricey. Growing your herbs is one method to save money on key nutrients.
You won’t regret spending more money to get herbs that are the same or worse quality than what you can grow at home.
You also know everything about how you raised those plants. You never have to be concerned that a dangerous pesticide was used on your herbs or that they were exposed to pollutants.
With complete management, you have the choice of keeping your operation completely organic or carefully selecting any fertilizer and pest control solutions.
Growing Herbs is a Great Hobby
It’s incredible to plant a little seed on earth and watch it grow into a large plant in a short amount of time. It’s even more incredible when you take the first bite of something you grew yourself.
Furthermore, studies have shown that having plants around increases endorphins, thus preparing your morning coffee while gazing at the rosemary plant on your window ledge will make you feel a little better.
Herb Plants Will Liven Up Your Home
Your fresh herbs will not only taste excellent, but they will also look beautiful.
These plants are frequently simple to grow and may fit into small areas so that they can add a welcome splash of color to your yard.
Herb care will become a pleasurable daily pastime, with the added benefit of visible improvements in your cooking and food expenditure.
Herbs That Grow Indoors
Now that you’re up to speed with what herbs are and some of their benefits, it’s finally time to get into which herbs you can grow in your home.
Chervil is an annual with an anise-parsley taste that is one of the four herbs used to construct the traditional French fines herbes blend.
It’s a must-have in Bénaise sauce and goes great with fish, potatoes, steamed carrots, and eggs. You can snip fresh leaves for salads, steeped in white wine vinegar for dressings, or use it towards the end of cooking to maintain taste.
It would be best if you planted chervil seeds in deep containers with wet potting soil to enable their tap root’s freedom to flourish.
After sprouting, maintain plants cool and under moderate sunlight. Replant every few weeks to provide a steady supply of fresh young leaves.
For the greatest flavor, grow lemon balm plants for only one year. Plant it indoors in the fall, grow it indoors through the winter, and then move it outside for the spring and summer.
Thyme’s varied taste — and its various types — make it an essential component in practically every cuisine throughout the world.
Its little leaves and drooping branches add to its natural houseplant charm. Plant thyme in a fast-draining soil mix in a warm, sunny window. Water when the soil’s surface is dry, but don’t let it wilt.
Basil is an important herb in many cuisines throughout the globe, and it pairs well with tomatoes. It is also quite easy to cultivate indoors.
Pinch off individual leaves and toss them into salads, sandwiches, or sauces. You can make your pesto. Plant seeds or buy miniature plants and place them in nutrient-dense, organic potting soil.
Basil likes heat and strong light, so place it in a window facing south or west or use a grow light. Avoid places that are chilly and draughty, especially in the winter.
You can keep and use it for several weeks or until the stems become woody. Plant a new batch of seeds every few weeks to ensure a steady supply.
With many tasty types to choose from, mint could fill a whole garden. Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, orange, apple, banana, and other flavors are available.
Tea and mixed beverages, salads, and desserts can benefit from snipping leaves and sprigs. Mint plants are often boisterous, and their trailing, aromatic stems make them appealing houseplants.
Maintain wet soil and provide them with moderate to intense light. The majority are hardy perennials that can withstand most temperatures.
For most people, growing mint indoors may be the best option. Containerizing mint prevents it from spreading across the yard and garden. Indoors, all types are appropriate.
Oregano is a proud part of the same family as mint and is ideal for Central American, Italian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines.
The dried leaves have a stronger flavor than the fresh leaves. Grow oregano in the same way you would grow other types of mints.
Water it when the soil isn’t damn but rather dry, but don’t allow it to dry out completely. Provide moderate to intense light to the plants.
If left unpruned, this shrub can grow fairly enormous, sometimes known as bay leaf. It works great indoors during the winter months, but it operates best outside during the hotter months.
The taste is greatest in the oldest leaves. Plant in well-draining soil in a sunny window.
A well-ventilated environment aids in illness prevention. Keep an eye out for shield-like scale insects on the leaves and stems. Prepare neem oil to control breakouts.
The earthy scent of a few crushed rosemary leaves may take you to warmer locales on a chilly, snowy day.
The needled leaves are among the best herbs to use with chicken, hog, lamb, soups, potatoes, and olive oil. It also goes well with tomato and cream sauces.
Snip 1-4″ sprigs and add into soups, or strip and mince the leaves. Rosemary can handle hot, bright, dry conditions in the summer but prefers lower temperatures in the winter as long as the light is sufficient.
The Bottom Line
If you want to try your luck at horticulture but don’t know where to start, starting with one or two easy-to-grow herbs is a terrific place to start.
Growing your herbs can teach you a lot about gardening and plants in general, and it will undoubtedly save you money if you’ve been purchasing herb pots from the store.
Begin slowly, so you don’t become overwhelmed, and experiment with your cooking to use up all of the herbs you grow.
While having a herb garden has many advantages, one of the best is tasting the fresh flavor of plants that you grew yourself.