Every season has its own set of flavors. Fall and winter showcase full-bodied flavors like chili, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. However, when it comes to the warmer weathered months of spring and summer, fresher and lighter flavors are a must. In celebration of the spring season (and soon to be summer) here are seven herbs for your home garden, even if that backyard garden includes a few small planters or pots on your kitchen windowsill.
Italian Sweet Basil is a versatile summer herb that is best used raw in salads or soups as it does not withstand heat well. If you are looking for a sturdier spice, then try planting Thai Basil, which tastes slightly less sweet than its Italian Basil counterpart.
When caring for basil, remember to prune it back to promote growth by pinching the basil back above the bottom-most leaf. If your basil starts sprouting flowers, trim them immediately. Flowers indicate the basil may soon go to seed, which will make this herb bitter in taste and no one wants that.
Chives are a great springtime herb to plant because they do not require much attention or maintenance and don’t we all already have enough to do anyway?
Chives have a delicate onion flavor and like Italian Basil, do not stand up well to heat, so it is best to use them as a garnish on salads, soups, or potatoes. You can even infuse butter or salad dressings with chives.
When harvesting chives, simply cut them straight across, but be warned, once you trim the chives, they will not come back. If you want a steady supply, plant them in succession so you can replenish your chive crop.
Cilantro is incredibly versatile and can add a pop of fresh flavor to drinks, dressings, guacamole, and even smoothies. Cilantro compliments both sweet and savory flavors so do not be afraid to get creative with it in the kitchen.
Cilantro is incredibly delicate when it comes to planting. You want to purposely over seed them so more plants come in each time you harvest it. This herb also tends to take off quickly, so you will want to grow enough to harvest, but not so much that it goes to seed. If cilantro accidentally does go to seeds, you can cook with the seeds themselves, which are actually coriander.
Dill has a delicate anise-y flavor and is best used raw. It pairs well with beets, eggs, and yogurt as well as fish like wild-caught salmon. You can, of course, use dill to make your own homemade pickles too. Dill can grow pretty large, so make sure you have enough space or a large pot to plant it in. Fun Fact: Dill can attract both birds and butterflies to your yard.
A fan favorite, mint can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Add it to beverages (mint mojito anyone) or in salads and sauces. You can even add it to your favorite tea for a fresh burst of flavor.
Also known as spearmint, mint is an incredibly hardy herb and is a perennial, so it will grace your garden with its presence every year. However, it can become invasive, so it is best to monitor its growth closely.
Believed by the Greeks to be an excellent herb for the brain, rosemary is an evergreen shrub and is often used as a decorative plant in many gardens and landscapes. Its fragrant needle-like leaves are available fresh all year long if well taken care of. Rosemary pairs well with roasted meats such as chicken and lamb or you can even get fancy with it and use it as a garnish for a creative cocktail or mocktail recipe.
Thyme is a very hardy plant, which means it can withstand heated cooking, making it an easy (and delicious) addition to bread, doughs, meats like beef, chicken or pork, soups, and stocks. It can even be cooked down and turned into a simple syrup for cocktails.
When planting springtime herbs, pick plants that you will enjoy using in your own home cooking. Remember, your springtime herbs and garden should be unique as your palette so have fun with it.
- Stay Healthy and Happy
Need some new recipe ideas to incorporate all of those garden fresh springtime herbs you plan on planting this season? Check out @MBVeganShare or join our CEO live @itsnolasnacks once a month starting Sunday, July 17th when she shares some delicious and nutritious vegan recipes. Do not worry, even if you are not vegan, you will still enjoy these dishes.
Tag us @itsnolasnacks so we can see all of your springtime herbs from your very own garden.