Herb Garden Basics: Essentials for Cooking

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When you’ve set up that nice little bed for a selection of green herbs in a home or collective herb garden, it’s nice to know what a lot of others start out planting. When it comes to herb gardens in the general North American bioregion, a few simple plants are super-popular for flavoring a wide range of dishes straight from the earth.

Rosemary

This hardy plant provides a great flavor for roasted potatoes and some pasta dishes. It also smells good in the garden, and grows in a dense, controlled fashion. The leaves of the rosemary look a little like the fronds of some kinds of coniferous trees, and are sturdier than those of some other plants.

Basil

The wide leaves of this plant are great for many Italian and Thai dishes, as well as others from around the globe. Basil is a very common addition to any herb garden, and grows mostly straight up, making it a space saver.

Mint

This aromatic herb provides an essential element for fresh teas, as well as for jellies, lamb dishes, some types of exotic meals and even jelly in Middle Eastern cooking.

Oregano

This green herb can be grown outside, and lots of gardeners like it for a pizza topping or an addition to other entrees.

Cilantro

This plant can be a little harder to grow, but for those who can successfully include it in their herb garden, the effort pays off. Cilantro adds a pop of flavor to Mexican dishes, soups, pasta salads, sandwiches and much more. Those familiar with the fresh taste of home-grown cilantro won’t mistake it for anything else, and getting cilantro from a garden is much nicer for many herb aficionados than buying it in the supermarket.

Parsley

This vibrant green herb adds a lot to a wide variety of dishes. Some people think of parsley as a garnish, but it’s much more. The plant is said to be an aid to the digestive system that has been prized by many societies in regional cuisines, including French cooking. Lots of cooks who know about culinary history like to have parsley on hand for different uses.

Thyme

This oddly spelled plant is great for soups and other savory dishes. It has a mild but distinct flavor, and is often part of an herb garden that owners can draw from for year-round cooking.

Sage

Not everybody likes to use this traditional American plant for cooking, but some do, especially many hunters who want something to complement gamy meats like venison. In Native American society, sage was notable for its spiritual and medicinal uses. Now, it’s often a part of hearty gravies and soups.

These are just some of the most popular additions to a small herb garden that help to furnish a range of tastes for the dinner table. If herb gardening seems hard at first, in the long run, the payoff will likely make it all worthwhile. Green herbs and flavorings are some of the easiest plants to grow, and take the least space, with a lot of functional uses in different kinds of cooking. Think about making these favorites part of your home herb garden area.

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