There are so many reasons to grow your own herbs. The most important reason is flavor; you just can’t beat the fresh flavor of homegrown herbs.
There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs in recipes you prepare. If you’re lucky enough to have an herb garden you can enjoy that great taste as often as you like, but what do you do if you don’t have space for a garden outdoors?
Luckily many herbs are easy to grow in small areas such as kitchen window sills. They need warmth, sunlight and water. And if your kitchen doesn’t have enough natural sunlight during the day, you can also place them in rooms with better natural sunlight. Remember that it takes about three times as much fresh herb to get the flavor of a dried seasoning, but the taste is much better.
Look for herbs which will remain relatively small. Those which are too wide or too tall may not fit in the area you’ve chosen to grow them. You’ll also want to consider the type of cooking you do most often and choose herbs which will match that type of cooking. Below are five herbs to grow in your kitchen window or another in your home.
Chives. This herb, which tastes like a combination of garlic and onions, can be added to homemade salad dressing, sour cream, soups or burgers. You may want to substitute chives for onions in some recipes to give your food a little different taste. These can be started from seed quite easily. Your recipe will also have a unique taste depending upon whether you use fresh or dried herbs.
Basil. Basil is used in many ethnic foods such as those from Italy, Mexico or Thailand. If you’re preparing a dish with tomatoes, basil is a natural herb to choose. There are several varieties to choose from and you can either start them from seed or purchase seedlings.
Cilantro or Coriander. This is another herb which can be grown easily from seeds. Depending upon whether you’re using the leaves or allowing the herb to go to seed, you can use cilantro in Mexican or Indian cuisine.
Mint. Mint is a universal herb which is used in a myriad of cuisines. If you live in the South you know it can be added to iced tea. You can also use it as an ingredient in salads, jellies and desserts. It can be started as seeds or seedlings. Great garnish to have on hand for dessert and drinks.
Thyme. Thyme is often used when cooking meats and other savory dishes. It is best to start these out as seedlings so you can begin using the herb as quickly as possible.
Seeds and seedlings for the above herbs can be found at many discount stores as well as farmer’s co-ops. If you choose to grow your herbs from seeds, follow the instructions on the packet to plant them. Before you know it, you’ll have fresh herbs to harvest and enjoy in your home cooked meals.