getting started with an herb garden

Your ingredients work together to create a finished dish that you follow in a recipe or create yourself. The freshest ingredients you can find make any finished product taste better.

Fresh herbs can make the whole dish really sing. Maybe you want to get started and create your own herb garden. Don’t know where to begin? Read on for ideas to get you started.

Decide whether you are creating an herb garden in the ground or in some containers. Herbs are fairly easy to grow and require little regular maintenance.

Ideally you want to choose a sunny spot and somewhere near your back door or apartment terrace. You want your herbs readily accessible in a place that’s easy to get to from your kitchen.

Some garden centers carry terra cotta planters designed with separate openings for each herb. You can grow several herbs in very little space with one of these herb pots.

Here are some herbs to get you started with the basics. There are all sorts of variations on the basic herbs.

Basil

No summer herb garden should be without basil. This is a heat-loving annual herb that garnishes tomato dishes and lends its easily recognized flavor to pasta dishes and pizza. Grow in a pot by the grill for easy-to-reach flavor all summer.

Chives

Chives are a good match with any dish you make with eggs, from scrambled eggs on the morning breakfast table, to an appetizer favorite of deviled eggs. Chives will continue growing after you cut them for use in the kitchen. This herb can add a light onion flavor to sauces and soups.

Mint

We grow several varieties but one mint plant can be used to harvest the leaves for cool drinks, ice cream and homemade jams for your summer kitchen.

Oregano

Oregano is one of those plants that the more you harvest it the more it will reward you by being a healthy, bushy plant. Oregano is used in soups, stews and sauces. It pairs well with meat and shellfish.

Rosemary

The strong, woodsy flavor of rosemary stands up to bold meat flavors. This perennial is not like anything you get in the supermarket. Fresh rosemary has thin stems that are tender and can be chopped along with the leaves. When your meat is almost done on the grill, light  some rosemary branches at the ends with a match and wave over the meat for a smoky flavor.

Tarragon

You want to buy the tarragon that is labelled “French tarragon” for the distinct licorice notes of flavor. Remove flowers as they appear as it takes energy away from the plant.

Thyme

There are about 400 different varieties of thyme. Be sure and pick up the thyme that is marked for culinary uses. Like the rosemary, thyme plants have tender stems that can be chopped along with the leaves.

Tomorrow brings more food and garden talk!

 

 

 

 

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