Every budding or experienced Italian chef knows that fresh herbs are best for any recipe, just ask Owner and Chef James Burns of Pazzo Pazzo Italian Cuisine. The easiest and cheapest way to make sure that your home is always stocked with tasty, fresh herbs for cooking, crafts, and remedies is to plant a little herb garden yourself. It may not be practical to grow every herb you’ll ever need in the kitchen, but here our favourite 7 herbs that are worth planting in your backyard or planter.
Basil occupies the prime spot in the creation of pesto and also makes a delicious appearance in caprese salad, along with tomatoes and mozzarella. This trio of ingredients can also be found in appetizers and sandwiches. Basil seeds sprout easily and the plants produce good, hearty leaves. It’s an annual that requires regular sunlight and healthy watering.
Believe it or not, oregano is a part of the mint family, even though it tends to have a bitter taste. It works well with tomatoes-based sauces, seafood, and pork dishes. Adding oregano to the dish during the last 30 minutes of cooking will ensure that there is no off-putting bitter aftertaste. Oregano thrives in highly sunlit areas with moderate heat and rich, well-drained soil. These plants tend to stretch out as they grow, so ensure that they have a lot of room.
Relatively expensive when bought at a grocery store, saffron doesn’t make a regular appearance in many kitchens due to the price. Keep it warm and dry, though, and it’s not that hard to grow it yourself! Saffron really stands out in rice dishes like risotto.
Parsley shows up in so many recipes and quite often as a garnish, too, thanks to its luscious bright green colour. It tames the greasy nature of fatty roasts and even contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – vitamin A, C, and K, for example. It will sprout twice a season, making it a biennial. Leave seeds overnight in warm water to encourage them to sprout before planting them.
- Bay Leaf
Best dried, bay leaf comes from a tree that can grow over 40 feet when tended to properly – so it takes a bit of commitment, but is totally worth it. It grows slowly and needs lots of light and well-drained, rich soil. Some people say that it has a flavor like blending thyme and oregano and it works best when added to long-cooking stocks, sauces, and stews. In order to let it set, it is usually added at the start of the recipe.
Rosemary is a very distinctive herb and is easily recognizable due to its long, narrow needles. It has a piney scent that perfectly complements roasted potatoes, pork, and lamb. It tends to be added at the start of the cooking process, like bay leaf. In order for it to thrive in a garden of planter, it needs well-drained soil and tons of natural sunlight.
Thyme works wonders in tomato-based sauces. It shows up alongside ingredients like beans, peppers, eggplant, and shellfish. Thyme is a perennial herb that grows well in barren, sunlit areas that are inhospitable to many other plants. It is resistant to droughts, so keep that in mind if you live somewhere prone to harsh, dry weather.
What herbs do you grow at home and which are your favourite to use in fresh cooking? Let us know on our Facebook page. Want to taste fresh herbs at work? Make a reservation online or drop by for lunch and dinner at 10016-103 Ave. Edmonton, AB. You can also call us at (780) 425-7711. We look forward to serving you!