If you want to know why some herbs have more flavor than others the answer lies in the way that the plants are cultivated. You might think that this involves extra care and attention to ensure the finest plants, but it turns out that the opposite is the case. Apparently herbs produce the strongest flavors when they are stressed as Aislin Suparak Gibson explains in her article which I found on the Houzz website.
Fresh homegrown herbs are the secret to turning your everyday meals into extraordinary cuisine. With just a handful of fresh herbs, you can add delicious flavor and color to any dish.
To cultivate the maximum flavor from your herbs, you will want to mimic nature?s extreme conditions. This is because most herbs produce essential oils as protection from drought, pests and other stresses. And it is the essential oils in basil, rosemary, chives and other herbs that give them their delicious, concentrated aroma and flavor.I have stressed some of the herbs in my own garden through neglect, and I have found those plants to have the best flavor, even if they?re not the most lush. James Wong?s Grow for Flavour helped me understand why and proved to be an invaluable resource while researching this article.
Here are five ideas from research, Wong?s book and my own gardening experience to create extreme conditions that boost flavor ? while also cutting down on maintenance.1. Crowd them. Crowding plants reduces their exposure to sunlight, so gardeners know plants should be given plenty of space to maximize their exposure to the sun. However, when researchers experimented with tightly spacing spearmint and lemongrass, they discovered a significant increase in essential oil production. It seems the stress of competition of close planting provides a trigger to produce defense chemicals, some of which are aromatic essential oils. To crowd those plants and intensify flavor, scientists spaced herbs about 12 inches apart.2. Keep them thirsty. The stress from drought has been shown to increase the content of aromatic compounds in a wide variety of herbs, such as chamomile, lemongrass, catmint and, as I?ve experienced in my Northern California backyard, lavender. This is especially true for thyme, rosemary or other herbs that hail from drier, Mediterranean climates with sparse water.