Growing Herbs for Cooking
Best Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
Have you ever wondered why any food in a good restaurant tastes and smells deliciously? That’s because restaurant chefs use fresh herbs for cooking. Fresh herbs add a lot of flavor to any dish and make it smell exquisite. If you have your own small garden you can enjoy the herbs any time you need them for cooking. Organic and fresh flavors of the herbs will improve the taste of any dish.
It does not matter if you have a garden or not, you can always find a way how to enjoy home grown herbs. In America if you live in an apartment and don't have a garden you can rent some small space in your neighborhood to grow your own spices. You can also use your balcony for the same purpose.
Basic rules of growing herbs
- NEVER use any pesticides or fertilizers when you are growing herbs indoors. Keep them organic and clean from chemicals.
- You can grow coriander, basil or dill from seeds, but you cannot do the same with mint,lavender or sage, you would need to find seedlings of these plants.
- Useful tip: if your herbs grow somewhere close to the kitchen, you would use them more often. Otherwise you might forget harvesting them every time you cook.
- Herbs lose their flavor when they flower, that’s why you need to pinch the top of the plant in order to postpone the blooming.
What About Winter?
If the summer is over and you cannot have fresh herbs anymore, you can simply dry or freeze your herbs for the winter season.
Freezing your herbs:
- Basil, chives, oregano, thyme, tarragon, fennel or dill taste better frozen than dried
- Before placing your herbs in the freezer wash them and dry with a towel. Cut your chives and lemongrass for better freezing.
- Alternatively, you can make pesto with all the leftover herbs you have. Add some olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, blend it all together and enjoy the delicious paste. You can store this paste in jars or ice cube trays in your freezer. Defrost it whenever you need it.
Drying your herbs:
- You can dry your herbs by hanging small bunches in a place with no direct sunlight in order to avoid the change of color.
- Wait for 10-13 days until the herbs are ready. Try crumbling any leaf in order to know if your herbs are dry enough.
- If this is too complicated for you, you can use another method. Place your herbs between paper towels in a microwave (2 minutes on high) or an oven (5 minutes on medium heat). Don’t forget to check how dry the herbs are. If they’re not ready, leave them for a bit longer. Be careful with this method as it requires a lot of attention. Keep an eye on paper towels as they might catch fire.
- Store the dried herbs in jars or plastic bags.
Growing herbs indoors is worth the effort to make your food taste fantastic. Fresh ingredients are the key elements of any good food. Growing herbs indoors allows you to experiment. You never know, next time you might start planting tomatoes in your garden!
Thanks for sharing. I've always wanted to have fresh herbs, but not sure how best to do it. Also, learning how to freeze and dry them for winter is a great help. Sally
I've been experimenting with a kitchen window garden of herbs - very pleased with the results, and all my cooking has benefitted! I understand many of these herbs also have medicinal values, so I guess I'm ahead of the game!
I'm trying basil, oregano, dill, and chives this spring. Would love to have lavender too!
Excellent article. I love herbs and I am currently growing some herbs in my garden. I will pin this so I can remember how to store 🙂 Thank you.
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