Just as with growing your own vegetables a herb garden guarantees that the crops will be fresher than any bought from the supermarket. With plants growing just outside the kitchen door or even on a windowsill you can replace the spice rack with homegrown herbs. This article by Saffyre Falkenberg which I found on the Gardening Channel website describes twelve essential herbs to grow at home.
Although buying dried herbs and spices can be convenient, the flavor is not as intense as fresh herbs, which can affect the flavor of your meals. Store-bought spices can also be costly, and they only last for a year at most. Replacing spices is necessary for the best-tasting food, but it can be difficult to remember when to get new spices—and it can feel wasteful if the spice hasn’t run out yet.
Growing your own herbs and spices in a garden is a simple way to save money and have the most flavorful food possible. Many essential herbs are easy to grow at home with the right care and attention. Replace spice rack staples with homegrown herbs for the freshest meals possible.
As one of the most forgiving herbs to grow, basil can thrive either indoors or outdoors. It needs well-drained soil and a lot of sunlight. If you start the plant from seeds and want to transplant it outside, plant the seeds around six weeks before the end of the winter season. Only move plants outside after all risk of frost is gone.
To get the most vibrant flavor, make sure to pinch off flowers before they bloom. Frequently prune the plant to get the most basil possible. Basil is an essential ingredient in Italian cooking; use fresh basil in marinara and pesto sauces. You can also use whole or torn basil leaves in salads and vinaigrettes.
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an annual herb that people either love or hate. People who don’t like cilantro tend to describe its flavor as soapy (there’s a genetic component to that impression), but cilantro is a vital ingredient in many cuisines. Add fresh cilantro to guacamole, or finish curries and noodle dishes with finely chopped cilantro leaves. You can also use fresh cilantro in salads, smoothies, or juices.
To grow cilantro, plant it in well-drained soil in either full sun or partial shade. The herb can be harvested three or four weeks after the plant sprouts.
Chives are a member of the onion family and can be quite invasive if allowed to flower. They grow best in full sun and require rich, well-drained soil. They can be started inside, but only transplant them outside after there’s no risk of frost. Make sure to keep them watered, and maintain moist soil. Cut the leaves often to encourage growth.
Add fresh chives to brighten tuna, chicken, potato, and egg salads, or garnish baked potatoes, salads, soups, or deviled eggs. Combine chives and lemon juice to top seafood dishes, or use chives in cream sauces and flavored butters.
See more at Gardening Channel