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 flavours and adds balance to savoury 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 flavour 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 flavour, 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 flavour chowders and fish soups. You cannot go wrong with this combination
  • Lemon Balm
    • Lemon balm is a prolific herb that has a gentle lemony flavour 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 flavouring. You can sprinkle it over prepared fish as a colourful garnish that also adds taste.
  • Marjoram
    • Sweet and savoury, 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 flavours 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 flavour 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 flavour. 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

Chicken

Lamb

Focaccia

Thyme Good With

  1. Meats: Thyme is excellent with beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. It’s often used in roasts, stews, and grilled meat dishes, where it adds a depth of flavour.
  2. Fish and Seafood: The herb’s subtle taste complements the delicate flavours of fish and seafood. It’s particularly good in dishes with salmon, trout, and shellfish.
  3. Vegetables: Thyme pairs well with a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. It can be used in roasted vegetable dishes, soups, and sauces.
  4. Beans and Legumes: Thyme adds a savoury note to dishes with beans, lentils, and other legumes, enhancing soups, stews, and salads.
  5. Eggs: The herb can elevate simple egg dishes, such as frittatas, scrambles, and quiches, with its savoury flavour.
  6. Soups and Stews: Thyme is a key ingredient in many soup and stew recipes, including French onion soup and beef stew, where it contributes to the dish’s overall flavour profile.
  7. Breads and Pastries: Fresh or dried thyme can be added to bread dough, scones, and biscuits for an aromatic twist.
  8. Sauces and Dressings: Thyme is often used in tomato-based sauces, gravies, and dressings, where it adds a complex flavour.
  9. Pasta and Grains: It can be incorporated into pasta dishes, risottos, and grain salads for an extra layer of flavour.
  10. Cheese: Thyme pairs beautifully with a variety of cheeses, enhancing the flavour of cheese-topped dishes, cheese boards, and baked cheese appetisers.
  11. Mushrooms: The earthy flavours of mushrooms and thyme complement each other perfectly, making thyme a great addition to mushroom sauces, soups, and sautéed mushroom dishes.
  12. Fruits: Thyme can also be used in dishes with fruits, especially citrus, apples, and berries, in both savoury and sweet contexts.

Thyme is a robust herb that retains its flavour well when cooked, making it suitable for long-simmering dishes. Both fresh and dried thyme can be used in cooking, but they have different potencies; fresh thyme has a more complex and less concentrated flavour than dried. When substituting one for the other, a general rule of thumb is to use one-third the amount of dried thyme when replacing fresh thyme.

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.

Lamb

Tarragon

  1. Chicken: Tarragon is a classic herb in French cuisine, often used in chicken dishes like Chicken Tarragon, where it adds a depth of flavour. Also great in this creamy chicken peas and rice dish
  2. Fish and Seafood: Its subtle anise-like flavour complements the natural taste of fish and seafood. It’s particularly good with salmon, scallops, and shrimp.
  3. Eggs: Tarragon can elevate simple egg dishes, such as omelettes, scrambles, and quiches, with its fresh, aromatic flavour.
  4. Vegetables: It pairs well with many vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and mushrooms. Tarragon can be used in salads, or to season roasted or steamed vegetables.
  5. Sauces and Dressings: Tarragon is a key ingredient in Béarnaise sauce, a classic French sauce served with steak. It’s also excellent in vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, adding a hint of sweetness and spice.
  6. Soups and Stews: The herb works well in creamy soups, broths, and stews, adding a layer of complexity and freshness.
  7. Grains: Tarragon can be added to rice, quinoa, or pasta dishes for an aromatic touch.
  8. Lamb and Pork: Its flavour complements the richness of lamb and pork, whether in roasts, chops, or stews.
  9. Cheese: Tarragon can enhance the flavour of mild cheeses, making it a good addition to cheese platters or dishes like cheese omelettes.
  10. Fruits: Surprisingly, tarragon can pair well with certain fruits, especially citrus fruits like lemon and orange, in salads or desserts for a unique flavour combination.

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