Essential to any kitchen is a good selection of herbs. Whilst most herbs are affordable and readily available in a dried form, nothing beats the flavour and freshness of home grown herbs. Luckily, a lot of popular herbs are easy to grow and require little outdoor space.
Basil- A staple in Italian-inspired dishes, basil is best planted in late February, allowing it to harvest in time for the beginning of summer. Once ripe, basil leaves are the perfect companion to tomato-based recipes and are a key ingredient in home-made pesto.
Chives– Sown in March and ripe in July, chives are a low maintenance herb that make the perfect accompaniment to potatoes and eggs when chopped finely. Although grown primarily for their leaves, the flower is also edible and can be used as a decorative garnish.
Coriander– Hardy and easy to grow, coriander provides a rolling supply of leaves when planted from early summer through to December. A relative of the parsley plant, coriander is used in cuisines throughout the world and is especially popular in Mexican and Indian-inspired dishes.
Lemon Balm– A perennial herb that has its uses both fresh and dried. Fresh leaves add a citrus flavour to light fish dishes, sauces, dressings and vinegars. Dried lemon balm, on the other hand, makes a fragrant addition to herbal teas and potpourri bowls.
Oregano– Thriving in the sunnier months, oregano blooms with a beautiful, pale pink flower. Used dried in a vast range of cuisines, from Italian to Greek, its aromatic and warm flavours add an intensity to tomato dishes and act as the staple of the modern Italian-American menu.
Parsley– Often grown in two types, flat-leaved and curly, parsley is widely used in sauces and is a key ingredient in both Western European and Mediterranean cuisine. Finely chopped, it is the namesake ingredient in parsley sauce, a common accompaniment to fish and gammon dishes.
Mint– A fragrant herb with a wealth of different uses, mint can be picked up until Autumn and used both fresh and dried. Traditionally paired with lamb, mint also has its place in sweet dishes and is a staple ingredient in several summer tipples, including Mojitos and Pimm’s. Fresh leaves can also be steeped in hot water to create a Mint Tea.
Rosemary– Native to the Mediterranean, this evergreen herb grows best in plenty of sunlight and pairs perfectly with meat and poultry dishes. Rosemary adds a distinctive flavour when infused in olive oil and can also be used in herbal teas.
Sage– Blooming in early summer with colourful purple flowers, sage is a strongly-scented herb that is best known for its use in sage and onion stuffing. Growing best in sunny yet sheltered spots, sage is also the crucial ingredient in Lincolnshire sausages.
Thyme– Fragrant and easy to grow, Thyme has held a great spiritual significance since the Egyptian era. Used dried and fresh, its leaves add flavour to soups, stews and meat dishes.