Herbs from your Garden to your Kitchen

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During our recent trip to Tagaytay, plants for sale along Silang – Tagaytay road catches my attention. Stalls are selling all kinds of culinary herbs, floral plants, succulents and fruit bearing trees.

I decided to take home some culinary herbs to start my herb garden so I can have a fresh supply of herbs any time. I also bought dwarf lemon tree and my favorite fruit tree Pomegranate which is locally known as “Granada”.

Fresh herbs are one of the supreme ways to increase the taste of your food healthfully. It can add punch to sauces, likewise it can create intense flavor on roast meats. When you have your own herb garden, you’ll always have the right ingredient waiting for you to make every dishes like magic. No more boring meals. As simple as adding few different herbs to a simple meal makes it look like it’s a whole new meal. Certainly it’s like ordering a meal from a five star Michelin Restaurant.

Parsley

Parsley is a garden staple, it comes in two varieties, the flat leaf and curly. It is used in salads and if combined with basil will make pesto, or cheese and garlic to make awesome dips. Parsley is a mild bitter herb that can enhance the flavor of your foods. It’s a good source of Vitamin A and C and helps aid in digestion. In particular, curly parsley is often use to garnish dishes.

Tarragon

Tarragon is the traditional ingredient of “Fines Herbs”  and aristocrat of fresh herbs. Its aromatic, sweet anise scent and liquorice flavor makes it perfect for teas.  Tarragon is also used to flavor vinegar’s and infused oils and a perfect ingredient to make a Bearnaise sauce.  It will transform your ordinary dish into a work of art with its spicy anise flavor. Try it with vegetables and chicken as it is the choice for any hearty dish. A must have for any culinary herb garden.

Basil

A key ingredient in many recipes specially for Italian recipes. Originally from India wherein it is also considered as sacred. It is popular in many cuisines like pizza, pasta, salads, sauces and pesto. Basil has health benefits of antioxidant and is a defense against low blood sugar.

Celery

Celery stalks are boiled in soups or sauteed with oils and onions. The leaves have a strong, almost peppery flavor that makes for great accent for cooking. This herb is treated as a cut and come again as plant.  Celery has an intense flavor and a little goes a long way.

Spearmint

Spearmint or Mentha spicata is a pleasant smelling species of mint found in most health products. This herb is perfect for tea. In Greek dishes, spearmint are widely used in dishes with cheese, tomatoes, rice and meat.  In addition it also helps to alleviate symptoms of nausea, indigestion gas, headache and toothache. This wonder herb also aid women with hormonal imbalance. Typical spearmint plant can grow up to two feet in height. Leaves are usually green and the edges are jagged, while the flowers can become pink or lilac.

Peppermint

Use as a garnish for cool drinks and fruit desserts. To make a refreshing and digestive tea, you can just put dried peppermint leaves in boiling water. Similarly you can use it to add flavor to your yogurt salad dressing. Just chop mint leaves, mix it with salt, pepper and yogurt. Moreover this herb also brightens flavors to cold soup or hot tomato soup. On the other hand, you may also chew fresh leaves and voila, instant fresh breath.

Tips on Growing Herbs

  • Herbs can easily be grown in fertile and well-drained soil. Pick containers with adequate drainage holes.
  • Fill pots with good quality soil. It can be a combination of garden soil and aged compost.
  • High levels of sunlight is important for obtaining good herb flavor. They need four to six hours of sun daily.
  • Harvest Regularly. Frequent harvesting with pruners encourages growth.
  • Water consistently. If you have a variety of planted herbs, do a little research. Some herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano) prefers well drained soil, while mints like more moisture.

Since my herbs are thriving and growing beautifully I plan to add up some more. I’m still on hunt for oregano, rosemary and thyme. You may also plant herbs using seeds, you may check Ramgo Seeds as they offer wide variety of herbs and vegetables perfect for your garden.

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