A kitchen without herbs is like a salad without dressing or strawberries without cream. Every cook needs herbs so it makes sense to grow them as near to the kitchen door as possible. While some herbs are annuals, this list concentrates on perennials which last for several years. These eight perennial herbs are described by Nicolette Goff in her article which I found on the Dengarden website.
Like all plants, herbs can be either annuals, biennials or perennials. Perennial herbs are among the most popular herbs for herb gardeners, since they grow for several years, giving you a continuous harvest for your kitchen.
Many can be dried or frozen for winter use, when the plants have either died back for the season, or are covered with snow, awaiting spring’s warmth to once again bring them to life.
Plant your perennial herbs in their own garden space near the back door where they are in easy reach for cooking. You’ll also love their aroma on a hot summer day when their fragrant oils disperse.
It is possible to grow them in containers, but most perennial herbs prefer a permanent position in the garden. Judge how you plant them by checking their hardiness. Thyme and sage are very hardy, for example, while your rosemary bush just won’t tolerate much cold weather.
Which Herbs Will I Choose?Perennial herb gardens will give you an inexpensive and fresh supply of many herbs.
Just think, you’ll have mint for your teas all year long, either fresh or dried.
You can add freshly chopped oregano to your tomato sauce, and fresh sprigs of thyme to give zest to your chicken soup.
Imagine stepping out the kitchen door for a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, and stuffing them into the cavity of your Sunday roast chicken. Heavenly smells!
Eight of my favorite culinary perennial herbs just outside my kitchen door are mint, Greek oregano, thyme, chives, winter savoury, rosemary, sage and French tarragon.
MintMint can be an invasive plant, but if you plant it in a bucket or bottomless container sunk in the ground, you can contain it somewhat. It has pretty purple flower on a small spike, and exudes a fresh smell. Its strong flavor complements lamb, peas, fish sauces, chocolate and vegetables. The leaves, harvested fresh, make a refreshing tea, or you can cut the stalks and hang them to dry for winter use.
I’ve set my mint plant into its own bed, and it has become a three foot wide monster this year. Several bundles are hung to dry in my pantry, and each day I brew a fragrant and delicious tea – still from the fresh leaves. However, the dried leaves are equally fragrant and delicious.
Greek OreganoOregano may not overwinter well in cold climates, but if you cut it back in fall and shelter it with straw, it will usually rejuvenate in spring.I find here in the Pacific Northwest, my oregano is green all year, and I can often use it fresh in winter months. However, it does not continue growing in cold weather, so I dry bundles every summer, and have the harvest to use over winter.
It’s strong sage-like flavor is used in much Mediterranean cooking, and it goes well with tomato dishes. Oregano requires regular pruning, as it tends to sprawl, with the stems rooting where they touch soil. Snip fresh sprigs all summer for immediate use, and preserve it for winter by cutting long stems just before flowering and hanging bunches to dry. I find dried oregano retains its flavor very well.
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