Do you ever find yourself with all the ingredients for your summer recipe except the fresh herbs?
Who hasn’t bought a bunch of fresh dill or rosemary, only to use a few sprigs and leave the rest to wither away and throw out?
Sure, a jar of pesto sauce will do in a pinch, but there’s nothing like homemade pesto with fresh Genovese basil from your own garden. Some of the tastiest summer dishes require fresh ingredients, like seasonal produce and fresh herbs.
Don’t have enough real estate for an entire garden? No problem. Your kitchen counter or a sunny windowsill will do just fine.
The best part about having your own herb garden is you can harvest just what you need so nothing is wasted. To get started, here are 6 herbs you can grow in your own kitchen.
What’s better than fresh basil for pesto, on pizza, in a strawberry salad, tomato sauce, or even a mojito with a twist? Starting basil from seed is super easy and fast, but even a fresh basil plant is less expensive than buying a package of fresh basil. Just place your plant on a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist. For a different flavor, plant Thai basil, the signature ingredient to any Thai recipe or for a new twist on marinades.
Mint is the perfect refreshing summer herb. Use it in a watermelon mint salad, mint tea or mint lemonade, various fruit aguas frescas, like cucumber lime mint, or a mint julep.
Mint is very easy to grow but the only downside is that it grows so quickly that it could easily take over your other plants, if you don’t set boundaries. It’s recommended to buy a young mint plant in a container because starting mint from seed is difficult. Keep your mint by a sunny window and make sure the soil is always moist.
Parsley is versatile and useful in so many recipes. Whether you’re using it in potato salad, tabbouleh, or making your own chimichurri dipping sauce, parsley is a must-have in the kitchen. You can opt to start growing parsley from seed, but it will take a couple weeks for the seeds to germinate. If you don’t want to wait, start with a young plant. On the bright side, parsley doesn’t require much maintenance or light, so it’s very easy upkeep.
Do you love the brightness of onions but want to avoid the possibility of an overpowering taste? Chives are ideal to add that subtle zing without using a full-blown onion. Fortunately, they’re also very easy to grow! You can buy a young plant or pull up a bunch, roots and all, from an already-established plant, then plant it in a container of well-draining soil. Chives flourish in full sun, but you can also keep them in a place in your home where they get about 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Whether you’re making salad dressing, marinade, pizza sauce, garlic bread, or roasted veggies, oregano brings a warm and pleasantly bitter flavor with an earthy sweetness to your food. Frequently used in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine, oregano contributes a richness to any dish.
Start oregano from seed in light, well-draining soil, watering only when the topsoil is dry to the touch. Make sure there’s a hole in the bottom of your container so you don’t waterlog the plant, and keep it in a sunny location. The seeds should germinate in just a week and once the plant is established, it doesn’t take much upkeep at all!
Rosemary’s scent alone is known to be very relaxing. It’s also great in focaccia, roasted with veggies and potatoes, infused into olive oil or even simple syrup for cocktails, like a rosemary greyhound. The possibilities are endless. Rosemary sprigs can even be used as skewers for barbecue kabobs or as fancy toothpicks to hold your hors-d’oeuvres together.
Start growing rosemary from a bedding plant in a pot as it’s difficult to start from seed. Keep it by a sunny window or even out on your porch or patio. Rosemary is hardy, but not hardy to cold weather, so keep it in a warm place or move it indoors before the first frost of autumn. Only water rosemary when the top of the soil is dry, but be careful not to over-water or let it completely dry out.
If you’re not sure how green your thumb is yet, start with just one of your favorite and most-used herbs. Once you’re comfortable, you can add other herbs to the same container to save space, so your windowsill is a one-stop shop for your recipes!
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