Over the last two years we have definitely caught the gardening bug. Four raised beds and a few pots provide us with a bounty of produce to enjoy over the summer months with plenty leftover to process and store for winter. While we have come to love the daily ritual of picking through the garden for that day’s harvest, we know that it is not for everyone. You might not have the physical space, temperament or schedule for gardening, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on growing edible delights altogether!
Growing herbs at home can provide some of the same satisfaction as gardening, equally as delicious results, and requires little in the way of inputs. Most herbs are extremely low maintenance, look good planted either inside or out, and can add delicious aromas to your day. Plus if you cook a lot, growing your own herbs can also save a good amount of cash at the grocery store or farmers market. So, without further ado, here are our five essential herbs to grow at home!
Thyme is super easy to clean, dries really well and adds a great savory punch to braises, sautés and roasts. Stuff some sprigs inside the next chicken you roast, toss your potatoes with thyme leaves before roasting…just play around with it and you won’t be disappointed.
I feel like tarragon gets a little bit of a bad wrap, and that might be because a little bit goes a long way so some cooks use too much and it overpowers the dish. If used sparingly, it adds a wonderful anise-like kick to chicken, fish, eggs or a salad. Just take it from the great James Beard, “I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.”
Get the recipe here!
3. & 4. Mint & Oregano
These two standouts are listed together because this summer we discovered the amazing flavor that a finely chopped mixture of them can bring to many dishes, but especially salads. On their own they are not too shabby either, with mint gracing your summer cocktails (juleps, mojitos and more) and oregano pairing with all of those summer tomatoes.
5. Edible Flowers
OK…we cheated here. Obviously we included a non-herb in a list of herbs, but it is OUR list so we can do what we want. ; )
We planted a nice patch of edible flowers next to our driveway this summer, and they have been making our food more beautiful and delicious all season. You eat with your eyes first, and why not dress up that ordinary week night salad and make it beautiful? Nasturtiums, with their peppery bite, might be our favorite, but plant a bunch of different varieties and sample them for yourself! (Here’s a good resource for edible flowers varieties.)