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10 of the Best Herbs to Grow for Cooking

Explore the best herbs to grow for cooking, elevating your culinary creations with freshness and flavor. Learn about the most popular herbs to cultivate in your kitchen gardens for delicious dishes year-round.

Are you looking for a new way to spruce up your favorite dishes and make them taste even better? Growing your own herbs is a great way to add fresh, flavor-packed ingredients to your cooking. 

Herbs are the secret ingredients that elevate dishes from ordinary to extraordinary, adding depth, aroma, and flavor to culinary creations. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook exploring new flavors, understanding the most commonly used herbs can greatly enhance your cooking repertoire.

Growing your own herbs is one of the simplest and most satisfying things you can do in the kitchen. Not only will it save you money, but having fresh-picked herbs always ready to go on hand makes meal prep quicker and tastier. 

Growing a herb garden is an easy way to bring the freshest, tastiest flavors into your cooking. The aromas of freshly picked herbs, whether it’s rosemary in your chicken dishes or basil on top of homemade pizzas, are a great addition to any recipe. 

So what herbs are good to grow in the kitchen? 

We’re exploring the best herbs to grow for cooking.

What are the 10 Most Used Herbs?

Fresh Basil

Sweet basil boasts a sweet and slightly peppery flavor that is synonymous with Italian cuisine. From classic pesto to Caprese salad, basil adds a burst of freshness and depth to a variety of dishes. Best of all, it thrives in warm, sunny conditions, making it an ideal choice for both indoor and outdoor gardens.

Rosemary

Rosemary, with its strong flavor and a woody stem, is a versatile herb that’s a staple in many recipes, including roast chicken, lamb, and vegetables. It’s best grown outdoors in a sunny spot but can thrive indoors with some extra light. Be careful not to over-water fresh rosemary, as too much moisture will make the leaves mushy.

Originating from the Mediterranean region, rosemary is beloved for its robust flavor and intoxicating aroma, adding elegance to dishes like roasted meats, potatoes, and vegetables, making it indispensable for every herb garden.

Sage

Sage stands out for its distinctive fragrant smell, which infuses your kitchen with a delightful aroma as you cook. Its warm, earthy flavor adds a touch of autumnal warmth to dishes, particularly enhancing poultry, pork, and squash recipes, making it a holiday cooking favorite.

Sage is not only delicious but also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, promoting health benefits alongside its savory taste. With its beautiful purple flowers and silvery-green leaves, sage adds elegance to any herb garden.

Easy to grow indoors or out, sage thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, making it a must-have for any culinary enthusiast’s garden.

Fennel 

Fennel has a mild anise flavor that’s popular in Italian food. It’s often used as a seasoning for fish, sausage, and vegetables. When harvesting fennel, cut the stalks just above the bulbous base; this will encourage new growth. 

Cilantro 

Cilantro is an aromatic herb that’s popular in Latin American cuisine. It has a bright, citrusy flavor that goes well with spicy dishes. It’s used fresh or dried in salsa, guacamole, soups, and other dishes.

Cilantro can be tricky to grow indoors, as it needs both full sun and high humidity. If you don’t have a spot in your home that meets both of those criteria, consider growing cilantro in an outdoor container instead.

Parsley

Parsley, undoubtedly the most versatile herb on our list, finds its way into a plethora of dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, pasta, and vegetable dishes. While often underestimated, parsley offers a surprising depth of flavor and adaptability.

With its fresh, slightly peppery taste, parsley is a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, adding brightness to salads, soups, and pasta dishes. Growing parsley plants couldn’t be easier—all you need is a pot of soil and some sun. You can choose from various varieties such as curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley, and Italian parsley, ensuring there’s a parsley type for every palate and culinary uses.

Oregano

Oregano, a cornerstone of Mediterranean cuisine, is indispensable for adding depth to tomato sauce, soups, and marinades, ensuring no pizza or pasta dish goes without its savory flavor. Its low-maintenance nature makes it perfect for busy cooks seeking to infuse Mediterranean flair into their meals.

Versatile and earthy, oregano finds its place not only in Italian and Greek cuisine but also in soups, salads, and sauces, adding a delightful kick when combined with other herbs.

Thyme

Thyme, a delicate herb with subtle earthy undertones and hints of lemon and mint, is an essential addition to any herb garden, particularly in French cooking. It enriches soups, stews, and sauces with depth, while also complementing poultry, fish, and roasted vegetables for a versatile culinary experience.

Renowned for its unique lemony flavor, fresh thyme is a cornerstone of French and Mediterranean cooking, elevating dishes with its aromatic presence. Whether indoors or out, thyme thrives with moist soil and ample sunlight, making it an easy-to-grow herb that no kitchen should be without.

Mint

Mint reigns supreme in the realm of refreshing flavor, making it a perfect addition to any dish, whether in desserts, herbal teas, or cocktails. Its cool, invigorating taste enhances summer beverages, salads, and desserts, from classic mojitos to tangy tabbouleh, infusing dishes with a burst of freshness. Mint is incredibly easy to grow, thriving both indoors and out, but its vigorous growth can quickly become invasive.

To keep it in check, plant mint in a pot to prevent it from overtaking your garden, and regularly trim back its green leaves to maintain control over its growth.

 

Try These Recipes:

Additional favorite fresh herbs include:

Bay leaves, fresh dill and sweet marjoram

What is the best way to store fresh herbs?

1. Store in a cool, dry place: One of the best ways to keep your herbs fresh is by storing them in a cool and dry area away from direct sunlight. This will help preserve their flavor and texture until it’s time to use them. Store them in plastic bag.


2. Wrap in a damp paper towel: Wrapping herbs in damp paper towels can be a great way to store them if you plan on using them soon after purchasing or harvesting. Just make sure that the wrap remains moist but not too wet so as not to allow mold growth. 


3 Chop up the fresh leaves finely and lay them onto ice cube trays. Add just enough water so that it covers all of the herb bits before freezing it overnight or until solid. Now you’ve got “herb cubes” ready to go whenever you need them! 


4 . Hang bunches upside down : You can also hang bunches upside down (stem side up) like mini bouquets around your kitchen for drying out small amounts at once instead of eating all at once! Then ground up dried herb leaves and store in airtight containers. herbs for cooking

What is the difference between fresh herbs and dried herbs?

The difference between fresh herbs and dried herbs is quite simple: one has been freshly picked, stored, and the other has been dehydrated. Fresh herbs are added toward the very end of cooking to preserve flavor.

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