We are literally THE website for growing herbs, but how do you know which herbs to grow to go with the food you love to cook and eat?
Hopefully we can start to give you more ideas for how to cook with the herbs you are growing. Meaning you can get creative in the kitchen as well as the garden (or in some cases windowsill!) The food we eat is only going to become more important in the coming years and we can all help ourselves to make the most from what we have got!
Herbs can elevate the food we eat from dreary and mundane to creative and interesting. If we take the Nations favourite herbs and break them down a little further we will see how we are going to maximise our taste and freshness!
Let’s get the balance of flavour and nutrients right and have healthy tasty meals for the family! 100% get them involved with the growing of the herb garden – quick results to keep the kids engaged!
Find a Food You Like Then Grow the Herb!
|Herb||What flavour to expect||What food to create!|
|Basil||Sweet, zingy and slightly peppery||A great garnish to any tomato dish, Mozarella or any Mediterranean seafood or pasta dish. Really good as a pesto|
|Bay Leaves||Sharp and bitter if eaten whole!||Use to put into stews, casseroles or pasta dishes, remembering to remove afterwards!|
|Borage||Fresh leaves are like cucumber, Flowers are like honey||Trust me on this borage is your absolute favourite cocktail ingredient! Great in salads with their leaves and flowers.|
|Chives||From the allium family the stalks are light onion, their flowers are sweet gentle onion||Again both stalks and flowers make for the nicest salad ingredients. Stalks are great as garnish or where younger family don’t like the harshness of onions. Potato salad!|
|Coriander (cilantro)||To some this is a lemony/lime flavour to others is is off soap.||Spicy dishes that need a lighter touch. as a garnish to risottos, lamb dishes or even omelettes.|
|Dill||Kind of like celery and aniseed mixed together very gently||Dill goes really well with creamy dishes especially those with fish. It has a distinctive flavour which needs to cream to bring it back down. Dill pickles are also welcome!|
|Fennel||Aniseed flavour and you can use the leaves of the white flesh.||The white part of the plant needs to be diced and fried as if it were onions. Used with steak or venison or even in vegan dishes as the main star. Leaves can be added to sauces.|
|Garlic||Raw cloves are super pungent and not too easy to stomach, chopped and sauteed they are still strong in flavour but softer. Roasting makes them soft, creamy and almost nutty||Fried with any pasta dish, as the base of a risotto, roasted with Camembert, roasted with butternut squash is perfection. Garlic bread for a real taste of comfort food!|
|Marjoram||A member of the mint family, there are subtle hints there but more flowery and delicate, sort of like a lighter version of Oregano||Use in heavy meat dishes or pasta dishes. Also really good in stews or casseroles. I love a good Welsh Rarebit and find that either marjoram or oregano work really well in there.|
|Mint||How to describe mint? Strong aroma as well as taste, fresh and vibrant. Perfect for cutting through deeper flavours||Perfect in so many cocktails and refreshing summer drinks. I love a sprig of mint on top of many puddings, especially citrus ones. mint cut through in peas is a nice Spring flavour.|
|Oregano||earthy and musty sort of a savory taste. Not too dissimilar from Marjoram but still more gentle than mint||Great fresh with red meats and any tomato based pasta or pizza type of dish. This herb feels like a good dried herb but once grown consider eating it fresh as well!|
|Parsley||It is like a mild bitter taste that somehow highlights the other flavours. It will lift any dish.||Fresh leaves finely chopped in creamy sauces, as a garnish to pasta dishes, casseroles, lamb, new potatoes or even fish dishes|
|Rosemary||This is a strong astringent flavour with lemony pine notes to it. That bitterness means a little goes a long way!||Perfect with any roast vegetables, or lamb, beef even pork. Also great in small measures in oil brushed on top of focaccia. We love rosemary used as a brush for BBQ’s as it taste sweet when burnt.|
|Sage||Pungent and like a musky grown up version of mint||Obviously a wonderful sage and onion stuffing is a family favourite. But why not try a vegan apple and onion combination? Or pork, venison, duck or goose.|
|Sorrel||Lemony spinach would be one way to describe it||It should be used sparingly and in salads it works well shredded. In egg dishes or where you might otherwise use spinach. Perfect when wilted slightly – stir fry’s or added last minute to a meaty stew.|
|Tarragon – Russian or French||Strong aniseed flavour that is increased in the older leaves||Heavy cream dishes can take tarragon, as can the use of it sparingly in risottos. Anywhere with game meats that need the heavy flavour to cut through.|
|Thyme||Tastes like home cooking – earthy and warm in aroma||A classic British herb used in so many dishes, tomato based pasta dishes. roasts, stews, casseroles. Any roast vegetables, with maple syrup and olive oil!|
Soft Herbs vs Harder Herbs
Basil, Parsley, Mint will all react the same way to heat and wilt. Lose their flavour and be unappetizing. However when used as a garnish to warm dishes they can release their natural aroma and oils. This is very pleasant and can really lift any of the above dishes.
Woody herbs like Rosemary and Thyme work really well as ingredients to add during the cooking stage. They release their flavour and it develops as the cooking process occurs.
For some seriously impressive inspiration check out Taste Of Home and their article on using fresh herbs in your day to day meals. Trust me if these don’t get your taste buds going then nothing will.
Let us know what dishes you would add to our list!
Dried Herbs In Cooking
We love to use dried herbs in our cooking as we can add to any dish all year round. However some are woody, like bay leaves, and you wouldn’t want to forget to remove them before serving to the family!
So you can use a bouquet garni or sachet d’epices. Where you can add the flavor, but remove the dried herbs easily before any complaints from the dinner table! We also make our own mixed herbs to get the combination right for everyone to enjoy the dish, without any over powering flavors. If you are unsure of what Italian seasoning is or herbes de provence, try not to be overwhelmed as you can interchange them in your cooking to suit your tastes.
We want you to have confidence to try adding and building flavors in your cooking. Sometimes I know that I can be guilty of returning to the same basic ingredients time and again. So i need to remember to mix up the family meal times with new herbs and spices.