5 Best Herbs to Grow for Cooking

5 Best Herbs to Grow for Cooking
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5 Best Herbs to Grow for Cooking

Looking For that “Something Extra” for Your Thanksgiving Meal?

5 Best Herbs to Grow

Grow delicious herbs at home. They'll warm up a fall or winter dish and add a burst of freshness to summer salads, appetizers, and beverages. Start with fresh grown sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and chives. Which can all be grown indoors on the sunny windowsill and outside in patio containers or in the garden.

SAGE – a bounty of flavor in the kitchen and lovely texture in the garden

Sage is most often used in stuffing/dressing, as garnish, fried in olive oil, to season your turkey, infuse butter. For an edible garnish, dry, crumble, and sprinkle it on side dishes, potatoes, gravy, and in appetizers.

Sage is a hardy perennial and a lovely plant that flowers in early summer to midsummer. Harvest the leaves in cool, early mornings. Store fresh sage by drying or freezing.

Sow sage seeds in spring and fall or start seeds indoors. It’s also a terrific addition to your indoor herb garden. Harvest no more than one third of the leaves and you’ll be rewarded with up to three harvests per plant.

THYME – a balance of flavors from savory to sweet, plants release pleasant aromas in the garden.

Use thyme for baking, roasting, marinade, dry rub, and in your dressing/stuffing recipes, flavorful garnish for appetizers. You can also add thyme to tea and cocktails. Dried thyme has more concentrated flavor than fresh.

Thyme is a beautiful hardy evergreen perennial flowering shrub in Zones 5-9. You can harvest the sprigs any time throughout the summer. Thyme can be used fresh, dried, or frozen.

Sow thyme seeds in spring, fall, or germinate seeds indoors. Add thyme to your windowsill garden for fresh herbs all winter. Harvest sparingly the first year and year two will provide an even bigger harvest.

PARSLEY – subtle peppery taste that is slightly earthy and bitter.

The less intense flavor of parsley makes it super versatile. The flavor is sometimes described as fresh, clean, and bright. Parsley brings out savory flavors. Add dried parsley to meats, side dishes, and salads or add the fresh, vibrant green sprigs as a lovely garnish.

Parsley’s curled and flat forms are attractive ornamentals you can add to your vegetable and flower garden or container and hanging basket.

Parsley is a cool season herb that can be sown in spring and fall. It grows best when temperatures are below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Harvest outer leaves continually.

ROSEMARY – the taste is complex, the most distinct flavor is reminiscent of pine.

Rosemary is very flavorful and aromatic. Different palettes perceive the flavor differently from lemon-pine to mint or peppery. Due to the aroma, rosemary is a popular companion plant to just about anything. Popular in savory dishes, dressing/stuffing and often used to infuse tea, olive oil, butter and even cocktails.

Part of the mint family, rosemary has woody stems and needle-like leaves that contain the oil that gives it the pungent aroma and flavor. It’s a beautiful bush you can add to beds, borders, and flower and vegetable gardens. A perennial in Zones 7-10, it also makes a pretty houseplant and windowsill herb.

You can harvest as much as one-third of the rosemary plant at any one time. Take trimming of the young stems and leaves. You can dry and store the trimmings to use later.

CHIVES – a similar flavor to raw onion but much milder

Chives are an herb, unlike green onions which are vegetables in the onion family: both are in the Allium genus. Use raw chives liberally for added flavor but handle them gently when chopping as they can wilt and bruise easily. They make an attractive garnish and add a zing of flavor to savory holiday dishes, potatoes, soup, dip, and eggs.

They grow in an erect, semi-mounded habit and their purple flowers attract pollinators. The flowering heads of chives are edible, but we most often harvest the stems. Their delicate flavor is lost when prepared using excessive heat so add them last-minute when cooking.

Direct sow or start seeds indoors. Perennial chives can be harvested throughout the summer by snipping stems in bunches at the base of the plant. Use them fresh of freeze them for later use.

How do you use herbs from the garden? We’d love to hear your ideas.