Sunday, 21 February 2010

Herbs and Their Uses

Have you ever thought about growing your own herbs?  Now is the time to start planning and it's easier than you think.

Whether you buy seeds or plants, always follow the instructions as some herbs are sun loving and others like Parsley, Chervil, Sorrel and Basil prefer a bit of shade. Whether it's in pots in the garden or on your kitchen window sill, not forgetting, if you have the space, a complete herb garden. Its a very satisfying project.

If you have not grown herbs before why not start small with, perhaps Parsley and Cress on the window sill or a window box, or, if you have one, a balcony. When you see how easy this is you may want to invest in a book about herbs which will give you all the advice you will need.

Popular herbs like Basil, Coriander and Lemon grass are very easy to grow and the recipe possibilities are endless. You can experiment with dishes from all around the world.

My personal favourites are


  Great with fish, seafood, pickled cucumbers, cakes, pastries, Dill vinegar and is most important in Scandinavian and central European cuisine.


An essential component of French cuisine.  Plants of the 'true' French Tarragon are difficult to find and quite hard to grow.  The more common Russian variety, fresh or dried is widely used for salads, steak, fish, preserves, pickles, shellfish, lobster, herb butter and in some perfumes and liqueurs.

One of the most popular uses is with chicken.  Fresh Tarragon tucked under the skin of chicken breast with slices of lemon is delicious.


 Very easy to grow, but best contained in a pot or the roots will spread and mint will start to appear everywhere in the garden. Fabulous in pea soup or with roast lamb. Can be pureed with a little olive oil and drizzled in soups. Mint is also very good in some desserts.


There is so much you can do with them: Soups, casseroles, fish pies and even sandwiches are automatically pepped up by adding some chopped Chives.

The more tender herbs eg Basil, Chervil, Coriander, Dill, Chives, Parsley, Mint and Tarragon should be added near the end of cooking or the flavour can disappear. The more robust herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, Sage and Bay can be added early on in the cooking to allow the flavours to develop.

Tender herbs are delicious raw in a mixed leaf salad.

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