If cooking or gardening are your passions, be sure to include these four herbs in your kitchen garden. There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs, but buying them at the store is often expensive or wasteful. Save money and time by growing your own herbs this year.
Thyme is one of the most important herbs in any kitchen. Partnering well with rosemary, parsley, sage, and oregano, thyme is a staple of many dishes. Lending an earthy, aromatic flavor to pork and chicken, it's often used in Cajun and Creole cooking.
Thyme leaves stay very small, so often don’t require any chopping. Its small flowers also make it a pretty option for windowsill herb gardens.
Thyme is an easy to grow herb. Indoors or out, thyme thrives in plenty of sunshine and stays relatively small, so be sure not to plant it next to plants that will overshadow it later in the season.
Whether on your pizza or in tomato sauces, oregano is a staple of Greek and Italian cooking. Used in poultry and seafood dishes or added to a vinaigrette dressing, oregano is an excellent addition to any Mediterranean fare. Oregano has a potent taste and aroma, so only it should be used sparingly.
Oregano is one of those plants that looks beautiful planted within the landscaping or along a path, providing height and dimension within the garden. Oregano also grows well in containers, given enough light and warmth. An added benefit: Oregano is also a natural insect repellant, so plant it close to outdoor seating areas to keep bugs at bay.
Rosemary is one of the most aromatic and pungent of all the herbs. The lemon-pine flavor of its pine needle like leaves pairs well with roasted lamb, garlic, and olive oil. Rosemary is also a nice addition to tomato sauce, pizza, and pork, but because its flavor is strong, use a light hand.
Rosemary grows best with full sunshine and frequent watering, whether outdoors or in a container. Planted outdoors, rosemary can be a slow grower in its first season, but the rate will increase dramatically in its second growing season.
Basil is one of the most important culinary herbs. Sweet basil, the most common type, offers flavors close to that of licorice and cloves. Used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, and salads, basil is in top form when paired with tomatoes, like the extremely simple but vibrant caprese salad.
Basil is a hardy plant that grows easily, indoors or out. It doesn't need much care and requires watering only every other day.
Whether you decide to add your herbs to your outdoor garden or create a mason jar garden, the flavor and pride that adding your homegrown herbs will bring to your dishes will be worth the effort.
What are your favorite garden herbs? Leave us a comment below and tell us all about it.
Annette Masterson is a licensed broker with EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates in Murfreesboro, TN. She has developed one of the most successful real estate teams in Rutherford County, known as Masterson Network, that specializes in new home construction and residential listings and sales throughout Middle Tennessee. You can email Annette at email@example.com or call her at 615-896-5656 (Office) or 615-533-1660 (Cell) for more information.