Herbs have been used for ages for all types of purposes. The following four herbs oregano, tarragon, fennel, and rosemary are easy to grow in your kitchen and even easier to use to add flavor to your cooking.
If you kept a summer kitchen garden then you probably already dried and prepared some herbs for the winter months. If not, don’t worry many herbs can be found in the local grocery store potted and ready to be placed in your windowsill.
Herbs are great for so many things to begin they are a great ornamental addition to every garden, have great medicinal value, flavor and enhance dishes, and can be used in skin care products.
Kitchen Herbs: How to Grow and Where to Use Them
The following are the most popular herbs that should be readily available to you and easiest to care for and prepare in dishes.
Oregano is one of the oldest and most used herbs around. The Greeks used oregano for internal and external remedial purposes. The leaves were used mainly for the strong aroma they provided during the medieval era and this is still its most popular use today as the leaves also flavor food well when heated up.
If your oregano plant is not already potted make sure to pot it in a light well-drained soil as it does not like being too moist. To use in your cooking pinch off the leaves of the plant and after rinsing in warm water you can add the fresh leaves to salads, on pizza or add to the sauce used in pasta dishes.
I love growing rosemary because of its ease in taking so well to being transplanted. If you already have rosemary growing outdoors it is easy to pot some of that for the winter months indoors by pegging down on of the plants shoots till it takes root. Also, like oregano make sure it is potted in like well-drained soil and place the pot in the sunniest window you have.
Rosemary has long been an herb symbolizing love and loyalty but most people recognize it because of its presence in the kitchen. The super aromatic leaves work best fresh or dried in dishes prepared with meat. Lamb has long been associated with rosemary and it’s for a good reason, the two compliment each other well. Another option would be to try rosemary with a vegetarian nut roast.
I love the meaning of this herb which has become very popular in the culinary world over the past several years. The word Tarragon means little dragon because it used to be used to treat poisonous snake and insect bites.
Native to Asia and Russia I am amazed when I think about how popular it is in French cuisine and how well the plant has taken to being cultivated everywhere it has been used. Tarragon is a little harder to find as a potted plant but there are some specialty stores that do carry it. If not your best bet is to find an already rooted plant and take cuttings of the main stem to re-pot in your kitchen.
Tarragon needs to be in direct sun and kept away from drafts and cold, also be sure to keep the soil well drained. I think tarragon is best used in chicken and there are many recipes out there that you can use. Additionally, the leaves, dried or fresh, are best in vinegar, herb seasonings, egg dishes, salads, sauces, and herb butter.
I only discovered the benefits of fennel in cooking a couple years ago from a friend in Spain. She tossed the herb into so many dishes that I soon figured out what her secret was. Romans have been using fennel in their cooking for several years because of how well it compliments sweet and savory dishes as well as a tea to soothe indigestion.
Unlike the other herbs, I have mentioned fennel likes to grow in very moist soil so make sure this plant does not dry out while in the kitchen. Again the leaves are the part of the herb that is most beneficial and used mostly for cooking, though the seeds are a popular natural medicinal aid for digestion.
I think in the case of fennel fresh leaves work best in cooking because the sweet taste they have can be lost when the leaves are dried. Fennel leaves are popular in soup dishes, cooked with fish and meat dishes (mainly pork).
Be sure to experiment with all these herbs and combine them with others I have not mentioned in your cooking. A combination you come up with may surprise and delight you.