|The Herb Farm|
|Top 10 Culinary Herbs in My Garden|
I have received e-mails from many folks asking me which are my favorite herbs I grow. Since there are literally hundreds here on the property, I decided to list my top ten favorite ones to grow in two categories. Last month we discussed medicinal herbs. This month, it’s the ones I use in cooking.
10) Oregano (Oreganum vulgare) is a perennial herb in the mint family and makes a good groundcover. It is evergreen here on the farm unless we have an exceptionally cold winter and I use it fresh in soups, stews and most savory pasta dishes. Oregano can also be dried for use where it isn’t evergreen.
9) Winter savory (Satureja montana) is a perennial herb I like to use fresh on salads. When dried, savory becomes more pungent in aroma and flavor. It is used in soups and as a poultry seasoning rub. Savory also makes a great looking border plant.
8) Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb that, to me, makes a salad complete. Though it has a short life during the hot summers here, I keep it coming on all season long by reseeding every two weeks through late October. There’s not much better than a bologna sandwich with mustard and fresh dill leaves on a hot summer day.
7) Thyme (Thymus sp.) is a very hardy perennial here. Some of the varieties are evergreen. Some are edible and some are grown just for looking at. I have about 16 varieties growing. The common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is used as a meat rub and in soups.
6) Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are grown here for both culinary purposes and as a good bee plant. Native bees love the flowers in the summer. Garlic chives make a great addition to most savory dishes. In fact, I have heard it said garlic chives go well in anything, but ice cream!
5) Mustard (Brassica sp.) is one of my favorite brassicas to grow. The leaves are great in salads and the seeds can be ground and made into a spreadable mustard by adding vinegar and turmeric for color. I have a cultivar growing now that is a red oriental variety and leaves taste just like Dijon mustard. It makes a great salad or sandwich.
4) Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) is a perennial herbaceous plant here, though sometimes it does not die back completely in the winter. It is a staple salad and sandwich herb with a fresh cucumber flavor.
3) Cilantro/Coriander (Coriandrum sativa) is another staple for salads here. If it’s too cold to grow it, then I buy it fresh at the local market. Cilantro doesn’t taste the same if it is dried and you just can’t make salsa without it.
2) Marjoram (Oreganum majoranum) makes a nice groundcover to use between stepping stones. When you step on this Lamiaceae it releases an oil with a sweet scent. It is used both dried and fresh in soups and dried as a poultry rub.
1) Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is my all-time favorite herb to grow. Each year I sow thousands of seeds and interplant these tasty beauties throughout the property. There are low-growing bush types planted as borders, large ones planted with zinnias to hide their naked stems and red varieties planted for color in a bed of green plants. I have several rows of tall basil planted around the patio areas, so when entertaining outdoors in the summertime, I cut fresh basil and vase it, and the cut plants give the patio a wonderful aroma. "Spicy, savory and sweet – basil on a tomato can’t be beat!"
Thanks for reading!
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As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy.