Ten Favorite Herbs to Kick Start Your Kitchen Gardening Habit
Adding fresh herbs to any meal always greatly enhances the flavor and boosts the health benefits of that dish. When my husband and I lived in Italy, we found ourselves using fresh herbs daily (basil more than any others- hello, Caprese salad!); however, this was something neither of us had ever done extensively before.
Now, it is almost hard to imagine cooking without the flavor boost these fresh herbs provide!
What’s more is that you can actually grow many of these fresh herbs in your own home, saving you money and time as adding fresh herbs to your weeknight dinner would normally require a trip to the grocery store.
Your kitchen is the most logical place to grow these herbs, as you will want them close at hand for cooking. All that is really necessary to grow herbs indoors is access to water and proper sunlight and most likely your kitchen windowsill or the counter in front of your window is the perfect spot.
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10 Favorite Herbs to Grow in Your Kitchen:
I just had to start with my personal favorite! Basil is super versatile- it can be used for everything from pasta sauces to homemade pesto and sometimes even frozen desserts and drinks.
There are dozens of different varieties of basil, so you will want to decide which one to plant when growing basil indoors. Basil is also said to have some pretty amazing antibacterial properties as well. It grows really quickly, which is great as you will find yourself reaching for your fresh basil all the time!
Chamomile is often used for medicinal purposes, as it has both calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a wonderful addition to tea to help you sleep at night or even to help with an upset stomach.
You will enjoy the mild onion flavor that chives possess, which makes them a great addition to soups and other dishes, as well as a topping for baked potatoes. You can even make your own homemade spread by mixing chives with cream cheese or butter.
Lavender is super versatile in that it can be added to your meals for extra flavor (a little goes a long way so use sparingly) or used for cosmetic purposes, like making DIY face masks or scrubs. It is also gorgeous to look at and serves as a beautiful addition to your kitchen decor. Lavender can also help ease inflammation, as well as depression and anxiety. Growing lavender indoors can be tricky, so just be sure to pay close attention to your plants for signs of distress and address any issues right away.
*Also be sure to plant culinary grade lavender as some varieties are not safe for consumption.
Mint tends to be one of the most “unruly” herbs, often taking over entire gardens when planted alongside other herbs. Because of this, growing mint indoors in a container is a wonderful solution in kitchen gardening as you will have much more control over the growth.
Oregano is a commonly used herb in Italian dishes. It is bright green and leafy and has a fairly strong flavor- as with lavender, a little goes a long way.
While parsley is traditionally used as a simple flavor-enhancing garnish for many dishes, it actually packs a big nutritional punch with high levels of iron, calcium, fiber, and even vitamin C. Parsley even fights inflammation.
Rosemary is another super popular culinary herb, often used in meat dishes like chicken, pork and lamb. It is highly aromatic and can be used as an air freshener, as well as an ingredient.
Sage is known to aid in digestion and is super high in antioxidants. It is also an aromatic herb that has a fairly strong, bitter taste. It is often paired with dairy.
Thyme is relatively pungent, yet sweet. It is often found as an ingredient in French and Italian dishes. Thyme is commonly paired with oregano, parsley and rosemary (other herbs commonly found in Mediterranean dishes).
It is such a luxury to have all of these herbs on hand as you prepare dinner each night. If you’ve never considered planting a kitchen garden, there’s no better time than the present. Your taste buds will thank you!
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much gardening not only improves the flavor of your meals, but also how much it improves your physical, mental and emotional health– now go kick start that new kitchen gardening habit today!
I really enjoyed this video by Jamie Oliver– it is an older video but he does a great job showing you how to prune, slice and chop your herbs for cooking. I think you’ll enjoy it too:
Another great resource for actually using all of those awesome fresh herbs you’ll have from your kitchen gardening efforts is this ultimate guide to cooking with fresh herbs from Taste of Home.
*If your favorite culinary herb has been left off the list, leave it in the comments…