10 Best Herbs for Cooking

Herbs are easy to grow (even thrive with neglect) and since they possess wonderful aromas, dinner becomes a special event when you add fresh ones to any recipe. Here are my favorite culinary herbs to grow (or buy fresh). Experiment with varieties that are hardy in your area, and choose herbs with your own taste buds in mind.

  1. Basil is absolutely essential for Italian cooking. I can't imagine a summer without fresh pesto.
  2. Chives are prized for both their extensive cooking applications and their gorgeous silhouette in the garden.
  3. Cilantro is used liberally in Latin American cooking, and its cool flavor is one of my year-round favorites.
  4. Tall dill plants waving in the breeze are a welcome sight in any garden. The seeds and herb are used in all sorts of vegetable recipes.
  5. Hyssop is a beautiful plant whose young leaves can be tossed into salads The flowers can also be used as an edible garnish.
  6. Although mint has the tendency to take over wherever it is planted, I love to grow as many varieties as I can handle. Fresh mint becomes an aromatic tea, adds pizzazz to summertime lemonade, and is refreshing with many Middle Eastern recipes, including lamb.
  7. Oregano is another Italian food staple, and it's also wonderful in egg recipes such as omelets.
  8. Forget the little sprigs of parsley used as plate garnish: toss it by the handfuls into salads, soups, vegetable and legume recipes.
  9. Rosemary won't live through our harsh Vermont winters, but I have been successful wintering the plants indoors. Once your taste buds have experienced fresh rosemary, they will go on strike if you serve the dried variety.
  10. Tiny thyme wanders among the paving stones in my garden, releasing its enticing aroma when we walk on the paths. It's also a favorite in fish recipes.

 

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