Easy to maintain, fun to do, and as useful as it gets. The fulfilling feeling obtained from cultivating and reaping the rewards from your indoor/outdoor herb garden is immeasurable. Here’s our top ten list of herbs that you can easily grow and use in your kitchen. We won’t get into different climatic details as your local nursery should be able to inform you as to what works best in your geographical region. So, here we go, here’s our list of the top 10 herbs for your herb garden. These herbs have health benefits and practical cooking connections.
The Top 10 Herbs…
Basil is by far one of the most popular herbs known around the world. Its also most certainly one of the top 10 herbs you should have in your herb garden. Dried or fresh, basil is one of the most versatile and rewarding of any herbs. Full of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. Great in tomato sauce, pesto sauce, basil, and eggs, ratatouille. This essential herb is also a cornerstone ingredient to any Vietnamese dish. Eggplant Parmesan and the list goes on. When gardening, don’t forget to clip/pinch off the flowers when they appear if you want to keep producing leaves.
Fresh or dried chives go excellent with fish, soups, potatoes (especially mashed), and a variety of vegetable dishes. Less overpowering than onions, subtle and fresh. Chives are an excellent addition to any herb garden and have certainly earnt their place on our top 10 herbs list.
Cilantro is rich in vitamin C and minerals. It is also aids in digestion and gastrointestinal inflammation. Coriander seeds are known to have a positive impact on blood sugar. The fresh taste of cilantro is a great addition to salsa, meats (especially fish), and a wide variety of Caribbean dishes.
While obviously not known for its edibility, lavender is one of the most versatile herbal remedies commonly known. From natural oils, potpourri, soaps, shampoos, to a natural deterrent for mosquitoes, the list appears seemingly endless. As lavender will not tolerate excessive moisture or humidity, it should be placed atop a slope of any kind.
Oil of oregano is an amazing remedy to treat respiratory complications, digestive issues, fungal infections, skin conditions, along with muscle and joint pain. Alike lavender, oregano is also a natural insect repellent. As far as the kitchen in concerned, oregano is great in Greek dishes. It is also great in eggs, meats, and bread. When gardening, keep in mind that both flowers and leaves possess a similar flavor.
Parsley works great to both neutralize bad breath and bolster your immune system. It is an anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant, helping in both digestion and detoxification. While in the kitchen, parsley is a great addition to any veggie dish. Great in salads or pesto or a lovely garnish. As a word of caution, pregnant women should avoid this herb as it is known to induce uterine contractions and can cause miscarriage.
Peppermint is an amazing deterrent for a variety of pests including ants, spiders, and rodents. This makes it a great fit for our top 10 herbs list. In tea, peppermint can help clear your sinuses, provide relaxation and soothe a headache. Natural oil is a digestive aid and helps to relieve menstrual cramps. Not concerned about menstrual cramps, how about a Mojito on a hot summer day?
Alike many of the herbs previously listed, rosemary is also a great deterrent for a number of garden pests including but not limited to mosquitoes and other airborne insects. Side note: Also a great deterrent for cats. Good to know if your neighbors feline is meddling about. This essential herb also works as a great remedy for indigestion. Diffused in water it can alleviate dandruff, promote hair growth, and help to clear up dandruff. In the kitchen, rosemary complements fish, chicken, lamb, and wild game nicely. Also great on potatoes and sauteed mushrooms.
Tarragon is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins. It is high in vitamin C and A, magnesium, iron calcium and zinc, while also full of antioxidants. In addition, tarragon has antibacterial properties which can kill germs that cause bad breath. In tea, tarragon is known to calm anxiety and suppress the appetite. As far as its culinary purposes, tarragon is a great seasoning for seafood, chicken, vegetables and again, egg dishes. And don’t forget that tarragon can be thrown into nearly any salad.
A great source of Vitamin A, an antioxidant which is beneficial to eyes, skin, hair, and nails. Thyme is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. As a topical solution, thyme oil can soothe and alleviate acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Used in tea, thyme is a great remedy for coughs and colds. This is especially true when you are suffering from a sore throat. While the health benefits of Thyme are impressive, to say the least, it’s also one of our favorite culinary herbs in the west. It is a versatile herb, and for that reason works well with a massive list of other herbs and ingredients. Some of our favorites include onion, garlic, ginger, and parsley. Thyme is great for soups and stocks, as well as sauces.
Want to know more about growing your own herb garden? Here’s some recommended reading:
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