Make Your Own Herb Garden (Happy Gardening Week!)

Monday, April 14, 2014

variety of potted garden herbs, closeup

By Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, Contributing Blogger

When it comes to gardening, I learned from my grandfather; his vegetable garden would always produce the crunchiest cabbage and sweetest carrots. He’d pair these exquisite vegetables with just the right amount of herbs (also homegrown!) to make his famous coleslaw – which was better than any store bought brand. I never had the greenest of thumbs, but something about growing a garden always seemed like a patient, therapeutic and healthy activity. This week, in honor of national garden week, exercise your green thumb by starting small with an herb garden!

Creating Your Own Potted Herbs
Starting an herb garden is simple and rewarding, plus it allows you to always have your favorite flavor ingredients on hand. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Pick. First, the fun part – go to your local nursery or farmer’s market and pick your herbs! Some of my favorites are rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley. Also pick up 6-inch pots for each herb and other gardening materials like potting soil.
  2. Pot. Fill up each pot about three-quarters of the way with potting soil and a little organic fertilizer. Make a well center and gently place your herbs in, covering with more soil.
  3. Place. Be sure your herbs get plenty of water and sunlight! Place on a sunny windowsill or table by a window.

Herb-Food Pairings:
It’s fun to experiment with different herbs in your kitchen. They’re a great addition to any dish helping to enhance texture, flavor and aroma so you won’t need to reach for the salt shaker! Try some of these herbs to pair with your next meals:

#1 Dill
Fresh dill goes great as a main ingredient in mixed salads like egg, potato or chopped vegetables. Dills versatile flavor allows it to be added to anything from soups to yogurt dips to fish dishes.

#2 Tarragon
This herb goes great with most protein dishes especially cheese, chicken and fish. It also unexpectedly pairs well with fresh fruit salads due to its aromatic licorice flavor.

#3 Basil
This sweet fragrant leafy herb was crowned the ‘royal herb’ by the ancient Greeks; and the star in many pasta dishes. It also mixes beautifully with most vegetable dishes, especially with tomatoes.

#4 Mint
Famous in mojitos, mint comes in a variety of flavors anywhere from peppermint to pineapple mint. It pairs nicely with rich chocolate desserts and also adds a new flavor dimension to sparkling or plain water.

#5 Rosemary
Rosemary is by far my favorite herb! Most often paired with roasted chicken, rosemary also pairs great with cheese. Try it with mixed with feta, goat cheese or ricotta.

 

SO TELL ME: What kinds of herbs are in your kitchen?

 

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