Just like Rachel Khoo and her Parisian window box of herbs I’ve been growing herbs in the garden for a good few years. I love using herbs in cooking, but fresh herbs can be quite expensive to buy so by growing them it means we are saving money and I have my own little patch of the garden while Hubs concentrates on the rest of the fruit & veg. Another advantage is that herbs need little maintenance. As anyone who grows herbs will tell you, even a harsh winter and drought won’t kill the resilient mint & rosemary. The herbs are always the first to spring to life in our garden after winter. We grow all our herbs in containers. This helps to keep the plants under control as certain herbs like mint and borage can go a bit mad if left to their own devises.
Over the years I’ve grown different herbs from the beautiful borage to various types of thyme and basil, but due to limited space I’ve settled on the four most used herbs in my kitchen. Chives, thyme, rosemary, mint. Boring – maybe, but practical? – yes. These herbs have an additional benefit, like may herbs they sometimes produce tiny flowers. These flowers can be eaten too and have a similar taste to the herbs. I love using chives as it is so versitile and great for giving a subtle onion tastes to food. I really like it in mash or jacket potato.
Even though I’m a big fresh herb fan I’m not against dried herbs in the slightest. When I’m too lazy to walk down the garden or during the depths of winter when the herb pot looks a bit desolate dried herbs can still pep up a dish. Next time you make roast potatoes just before you are about to roast them, sprinkle the potatoes with a tablespoon of dried mint. It really does transform the essential Sunday roast accompanyment. However some herbs just work better fresh. Chives, coriander and parsley. Coriander, just doesn’t grow well in my garden so with this herb, of which I use quite a bit of, I have to end up buying fresh. Just wash, pat dry and then freeze in a bag. I then use coriander directly from the freezer. Of course not the best if being used in salads, but perfect for use in hot dishes like curry and stir fry.
In our next house I’m hoping to expand the herbs I grow with the wild garlic Mat Follas kindly sent me along with bay, parsley, borage and something more exotic. What herbs do you grow?
Here is some recipes on the blog that contain herbs: