The Herb Is The Word

Whether you are growing your herbs for cooking or as garnishes for your table, growing your own can be a cheap and satisfying alternative to buying them from the supermarket. Today we look at some of the tastiest herbs that you can grow at home or in your garden;

Basil – Native to India, basil seeds can take up to two weeks to germinate. Basil can be vulnerable to frost, so be sure to wait until after the last frost. Tastiest in Italian style cooking, basil can really tie together a pesto sauce. Basil’s flavours work extremely well in tandem with that of the tomato.

Tarragon – Sow the seeds in trays, once sprouted remove the weakest specimens. Make sure your clip and trim the plants, as this will encourage thicker foliage. Great with chicken dishes, tarragon can be preserved in vinegar or even ice cubes.

Oregano – Native to the Mediterranean, Oregano is a fast growing, ground hugging. Make sure you clip and trim regularly, as it has a reputation as being very aggressive and can quickly swamp other herbs being grown nearby. Oregano can really enhance the flavour of your fish dishes.

Chives – The easiest of all herbs to grow and maintain. All parts of the plant are edible. Sow in trays, topped with transparent plastic to hold in moisture and heat. Once germinated, thin the strongest plants out, and pot them up. Best eaten raw, chives can really add flavour to vegetables or cheese.

Mint – Who doesn’t enjoy the smell of fresh mint? It grows easily from seed, but just be careful, like oregano it can be very aggressive. There are a number of varieties of mint, so grow to personal taste. It tastes lovely refreshing in a Moroccan style tea, or as a garnish to roast lamb.

Parsley – A slow developer in comparison to the other herbs we have discussed. But definitely worth the wait! Like chives, sow in trays topped with plastic and then re-pot at the germination stage. High in vitamin C and iron, parsley is extremely tasty with fish, or as an addition to a salad.

Growing your own herbs can be healthy, satisfying and cost effective – there is very little reason not to get involved.