The pandemic has kept everyone at home, giving people opportunities to hone their gardening and cooking skills. Although these hobbies are distinct from each other, why not try to achieve both simultaneously?
This can be achieved by planting herbs in your garden, whether outside or indoors, and at the same time give life to your home cooked meals by tossing in fresh herbs. Not only will this become a money-saving lifestyle, but this could also be a way to bond with your family as they can also take part in growing more plants in your garden.
Here are five herbs you can plant at home to bring new flavor and character to your dishes:
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora)
A flowering plant native to South America, Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and Iran, lemon verbena has been grown not only as an herbal ingredient for medicine and food but also as a decorative plant for landscaping.
The lemon verbena’s leaves produce a refreshing lemon scent and taste, making it ideal for making tea. It can also be utilized for culinary purposes, especially in desserts, jams, salad dressing, and jelly. You may also add lemon verbena to your savory dishes such as soups, salsa, and poultry dishes.
If you want to learn to grow your own herbs, lemon verbena is the perfect beginner plant to start. It loves being in warm weather, so make sure it gets full, direct sunlight upon planting. It also thrives well in fertile, well-drained soil. You can boost its growth and leaf production by feeding it water-soluble plant food and adding compost to its soil.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile is a herb that has been a favorite among plant and tea lovers alike with its daisy-like flowers. In addition, chamomile is known for its medical properties, making it a natural remedy by infusing it into hot water and then pouring and serving it like hot tea.
There are notable health benefits of drinking chamomile tea, such as improving sleep quality, promoting digestion, giving protection against certain kinds of cancer, helping in blood sugar control, and promoting good heart health.
Chamomile can make an excellent addition to your spring garden and have it easily accessible for your tea needs. Growing chamomile at home doesn’t require much effort as it just needs partial to total sunlight exposure. This herb also can grow in well-drained soil and must be regularly watered.
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Dill is an herb that comes from the parsley family and has been widely used in European and Asian cuisine. Its leaves are primarily associated with being an herb, while its seeds are used as a spice. It has a distinct grassy flavor that has hints of anise and has a very aromatic smell.
Dill is excellent for cooking as it can be added to make fish, potatoes, and lamb more flavorful. Aside from its benefits in the kitchen, it also has medicinal properties that will significantly help maintain good health. For example, it serves as an aid for digestion, can reduce swelling, and gives relief from cramps.
Growing dill in your garden requires the herb to be planted under full, direct sunlight, and the soil must be moist and well-drained. However, it can also be a great addition to your garden and helps protect your other plants as it attracts helpful insects such as wasps, ladybugs, and spiders.
This herb is a perennial plant originating from the Mediterranean and is considered one of the most valued herbs worldwide. Its attractive purple and strong scent make it a must-have herb you should have in your collection.
Many people will associate lavender with tea or essential oils, but it can also be a fantastic staple for your dishes and baking. With its sweet flavor, it is an ideal condiment for salads and dressings. In Southern France, lavender is even used for ice cream. In addition, lavender powder is derived from its dried flowers and can be used in baking cookies.
Lavender plant care is better when it is grown from cutting a branch from a matured plant than starting from a seed. It would be best if it is kept under direct, full sunlight. For its soil, it should be alkaline, sandy, and well-drained. It would be helpful to add a little compost to the ground to aid better growth.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Chives are most often interchanged with green onions and scallions. However, do not confuse chives with these as it is distinct and separate from these two. It is mainly considered an herb, and along with tarragon, parsley, and chervil, is deemed to be essential to French haute cuisine,
The plant produces edible flowers and leaves. Its stem is long and pencil-like, with a hollow center, which is primarily used for cooking. Chives are commonly used as garnish and pairs well with sour cream. It also works great with fish, egg, potatoes, salads, and soups. It is also not expensive and is easily accessible.
When growing chives, it is best to keep them under full sun, but they can also thrive under partial shade. Consistent watering is needed when cultivated and must be planted in well-drained soil.
Now that you know the herbs you can plant in your garden and help make more wonderful meals for your family, you can already start having accessible, fresh herbs right in your backyard. Just don’t also forget to give proper care and attention to your new plants, and rest assured, these will add magic to your kitchen.