Types Of Herbs Best For Growing And Cooking

Types Of Herbs Best For Growing And Cooking

Types Of Herbs Best For

It is the Spring of 2018, well thats what the calendar is saying. It has been one of the worst and longest winters for a very long time and we all hope for the sun to shine soon. I was taking the children to school after the too long easter break and noticed my little herb garden. Even though we had a horrendous winter I still was a little in awe in the amount and types of herbs that were still growing healthy.

Types of Herbs Best For Growing In Winter

You may well ask, What are the best herbs for growing over the winter period. Well from my experience and I can see through the window my herb bed in the front garden as I type.

  1. Rosemary
  2. Sage
  3. Thyme
  4. Bay leaf
  5. Parsley
  6. Chives
  7. Mint
  8. Lemon Balm

The biggest surprise for me is that the parsley survived over the winter. It wasn’t in the greatest condition but it is green and I have often gone out in the snow to pick some. After removing all the overgrown (woody) and dead stalks the parsley is just starting to flourish again. Although the chives did not exactly grow over winter they are looking fantastic now. The chives were just in a plastic pot I bought from the supermarket as living herbs. Of course they were reduced and thats how I have bought all my herbs in the garden. Lemon Balm I uses in salads occasionally and do little else with it until I discovered this at The Nerdy Farmer Wife 

Types of herbs

The Best Herbs For Fish & Seafood

In the past the European culture used dedicate herbs to flavour fish but then we discovered that asian cultures use punchy herbs and spices. The classic herbs for fish are

  • Parsley
    • Parsley is a slightly bitter herb that brightens flavors and adds balance to savory dishes, just like lemon juice does. Perfect for when you’re pan-frying, parsley can be added to your fish as a garnish along with a squeeze of fresh citrus.
  • Tarragon
    • Tarragon has a slightly bittersweet flavor and an aroma similar to anise or black licorice. Next time you’re making breaded fish, try adding some tarragon to the breadcrumb mixture to enrich the dish’s taste.
  • Chives
    • Chives are slightly onion-y in flavor, with just a hint of garlic. This herb goes best with a milder whitefish like pollock or Tilapia, especially if you drizzle the fish with a bit of Greek yogurt.
  • Basil
    • Basil is perfect for fish. Be sure to try different varieties of basil, as the taste varies from type to type—sweet basil, holy basil, and Thai basil.
  • Bay leaf
    • Bay leaves are a member of the laurel family. Its unique scent is perfectly paired with delicate-tasting fish, such as cod or tilapia. Bay leaves can also be used to flavor chowders and fish soups. You cannot go wrong with this combination
  • Lemon Balm
    • Lemon balm is a prolific herb that has a gentle lemony flavor that is just the thing to perk up a fish dish. You can use it for any of the hundreds of recipes that might call for lemon flavoring. You can sprinkle it over prepared fish as a colourful garnish that also adds taste.
  • Marjoram
    • Sweet and savory, marjoram is like a milder, less aggressive form of oregano. It is an herb in the mint family. Many say that it has a slight taste of citrus and sweet pine. It grows wild in Mediterranean countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece. Some ​recipes to try include:
  • Mint
    • Just a touch of mint will really improve any fish recipe. Mint effectively cuts through rich flavors to add a nice tang to any seafood. It should be used carefully, however, or else it can overpower the recipe.
  • Thyme
    • Thyme is perfect for fish and seafood. Go lighthanded with the thyme. As it cooks, the flavor becomes more intense. Some recipes you can try include:
  • Rosemary
    • Beautiful and fragrant, rosemary is a delightful herb for fish and seafood, and it is versatile. It can be used fresh or dry, but fresh rosemary has a bit more citrus flavour
  • Sage
    • Sage tastes great with fish, lending an aromatic, earthy flavor. Go lightly when seasoning with sage, as it can overpower. Cooking or freezing increases the intensity of this herb.  Sage in burnt butter goes very well with fish

Types of Herbs To Buy

Yes, honestly I get most of the herbs from supermarket when they are reduced. Most of them look very sad and dried out sat on the reduction shelves. As long as the main middle part of the herb is still green there is a good chance with TLC it will thrive again. Yes you can buy the herb seeds and grow them in seedling trays but I have had mixed success with it. My membership to the corduroy jacket with leather elbows, pipe and wellies club is a long way off. No green fingers here and if your not a gardener then to so save the time just buy your herbs from your local garden centre.

types of herbs mint

Simple Herbs For Simple Cooking

Picking your own herbs from the garden is one of the basic fundamentals of cheap dinner ideas. How often have you boughta packet of fresh cut herbs from the supermarket. I use the term freshly cut very loosely as they are anything but. The distance most herbs travel to your local supermarket is horrendous. Probably from the growers to the packing plants, to the packing plants to distributing centres then onto the supermarket. The cut herbs you buy are probably a least a few days old by the time they get to the shelves. Pick fresh pick the herbs from your very own garden.

Herbs In Your Garden

The types of herbs to grow from my experience are Rosemary, thyme, sage, mint and bay leaf.

Cooking With Herbs To Add Flavour

Have you ever bought one of those chickens in the packet classed as extra tasty.  Sometimes they are called cook in the bag chicken. The price difference is crazy for a few added herbs. Its so simple to add flavour to your chicken with your homegrown herbs. We stuff our chicken with thyme, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and half a lemon. The flavour enhancement of the chicken is amazing and the best things its better than cheap, its free added flavour.

types of herbs

When Do You Add Herbs To Cooking

The general rule of thumb is, fresh herbs are added at the end of the cooking process. Dried herbs are added at the start of the cooking process. Yes there are variations on the rule depending on the type of herbs to be used. Woody hard herbs like rosemary can be used at the start of cooking ideally with lamb or stuffed chicken.

types of herbs rosemary

Herbs To Grow Indoors

As I said before I am not green fingered at all but I do try growing some delicate herbs on my kitchen window. Of course all bought reduced from the supermarket. It is nice to have at hand, basil, great for any Italian recipes. One of my favourite herbs at the moment is fresh coriander great in any salsa with lime. ( pico de Gallo ) Mint, great in any salad for a fresh vibrant taste. Once the mint has reestablish itself I will plant it in the garden in a container so it does not spread to much.

What Do You Do With Leftover Herbs

If you happen to buy a pack of herbs or if you have picked to many, what do you do with what you have left. The last thing you do is throw them away. Don’t leave them in the bottom of the fridge unless you plan to use them in the next 2 days. Any longer than that they start to become wet and soggy plus the taste becomes stale.

types of herbs

Woody herbs like rosemary & thyme can be hung up in the kitchen on a piece of string to dry naturally. These can be used for several months after. Soft herbs like parsley and coriander can either be blended with butter and olive oil. Buttered herbs can be stored in the fridge for upto three months.

types of herbs best fro drying

Herb Butters

Try adding garlic to the herbs and butter and you have your very own instant garlic bread butter. Chopped herbs in olive oil pour into a ice cube tray and freeze. These are great to add at the beginning of a sauce of Bolognese. Along with the herbs in the olive oil add other ingredients such as chilli flakes (or fresh) garlic for an instant flavour boost from the freezer. Preserve the Chilli and you can also make  Chilli Jam with them.

types of herbs
spaghetti with garlic-oil-herb sauce

 A great Recipe for Herbed olive oil

Soft herbs can also be chopped, placed in a bag and frozen. Just add them at the end  of cooking a dish, coriander in a curry for example or cheats keema rice. The heat of the dish will instantly defrost them leaving your curry with a great coriander tang.

Care For Your Herbs

I am no Alan Titchmarsh when it comes to the garden or the herbs. All I do is just removed any old or dead leaves. If you want an in-depth guide to looking after your woody herbs and particular types of herbs then read this excellent article in The Spruce. With the softer herbs try to pick the leaves on a regular basis. Not only will the herbs taste divine also it will encourage new growth through spring and summer. Leave the leaves on to long they become dry and the taste will also diminish

What Rosemary Is Good With




Thyme Good With


Gratin dishes

Also great for making your own homemade lemon and thyme salt

Mint Is good With

Peas, this is my version of Nando’s macho peas.


Please come back as I am preparing a chart to show what types of herbs are good with which food

Leave a comment