Here at Beetnik, we pride ourselves on our flourishing herb garden. Growing herbs can be an easy way to add flavor to dishes, make natural remedies for ailments, or simply scent a room. In order to start your garden, it’s important to pick the right herbs to fit your lifestyle and cater to your favorite dishes. Some of the most commonly used herbs are rosemary, mint, basil, parsley, sage, and chives.
Rosemary is a wonderful plant with needle-like leaves that can be used year-round, as it is an evergreen, meaning it’s available throughout the year. Our favorite uses include adding it to steaks (perhaps along with some Herbes de Provence for a French feeling), lamb, chicken, pork, salmon, or tuna. It pairs beautifully with lemon and most cheeses. You could also try putting it into your favorite baked goods. Dip your bread into olive oil and chopped rosemary for a fresh and tasty way to pump up your most basic appetizer. Try mixing a little into your next lemon pound cake.
Mint can be highlighted as the primary flavor, like in a tea or a pesto, or can be used to provide a refreshing and unexpected twist on many dishes. It grows rapidly in leaves, and sometimes spreads invasively if left unchecked. Mint actually refers to a broad range of specific plants, but the most commonly used in cooking are peppermint and spearmint.
- Peppermint is a favorite of the holiday crowd, perfectly infused in hot chocolates, brownies, and other desserts. It’s also a wonderful herb to have around for its medicinal purposes. Peppermint has a long history of curing indigestion, nausea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), headaches, and gas. Brew a mild tea by adding a few leaves to your next kettle, or chop some up to sprinkle on your ice cream.
- Spearmint has a sharper and more invigorating flavor, which is why it is often associated with cleanliness and fresh breath. It can be used as a natural remedy for chronically bad breath, sore throats, acne, and upset stomachs. While it functions extremely similarly to peppermint in desserts and teas, it tastes better when paired with fresh fruits, mojitos, and Greek tzatziki. Try out our recipe for mint Chimichurri next time you’re cooking a steak dinner!
Basil reigns champion over Italian cuisine. Though basil truly stars in pesto (a delicious sauce or spread made with Parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil), it is also a well-known part of any Caprese dish, involving tomatoes and mozzarella. Add it to chopped vegetables like zucchini, or homemade pizzas for an extra dash of flavor. This herb grows best in warm climates, so try to incorporate it into seasonal summer dishes!
Parsley is an underappreciated herb. While often thought of simply as a garnish, parsley can hold its own in a variety of options. It easily brightens a white wine and garlic sauce to pair with clams. Salads and dressings alike love it. It thrives in classic Argentinian chimichurri sauce. On sick days, throw it into your chicken noodle soup for a little excitement. But perhaps the best benefits of parsley come to your health. In recent studies, parsley has shown to be excellent in cancer prevention. Its high amount of antioxidants fight carcinogens and in some cases have helped shrink tumors. So don’t be afraid to eat the garnish!
Sage, like parsley, has cancer-fighting properties, including high amounts of antioxidants like vitamin K. For a quick and easy dinner, sprinkle chopped sage on pasta with butter. Mix it with your eggs in quiches, frittatas, and omelets. Take your chicken to the next level by topping it with sage leaves, Parmesan, and a squirt of lemon.
Chives, or ciboulette, belong to the onion family, so they work well in most meals that would also require onions. That means they compliment things like mashed potatoes, cream cheese, latkes or hash browns, and sour cream based dips. Often confused with green onions and scallions, chives are smaller and thinner than their cousins but function similarly. Test them out next time you want a milder onion flavor in a recipe.
So if you want to add some herbs to your diet, go ahead and try growing an herb garden! They’re a quick and simple way to add flavor to any meal, and they’re incredibly healthy. Check out our growing guide to get started!
How long will it last?
|Rosemary||8-10 weeks before the last spring frost||Perennial – more than 2 years||Evergreen – all seasons|
|Spearmint||Spring: any time during the growing seasonFall: 2-3 weeks before first frost||Perennial – more than 2 years||Spring and fall|
|Peppermint||Spring: any time during the growing seasonFall: 2-3 weeks before first frost||Perennial – more than 2 years||Spring and fall|
|Basil||2 weeks after the last spring frost||Annual – one year||Grows best in the summer|
|Parsley||3-4 weeks before the last spring frost||Biennial – two years||Tolerant of southern/warmer winters; may need a little less heat in the summer|
|Sage||6-10 weeks before the last spring frost||Perennial – more than 2 years||Evergreen – all seasons|
|Chives||8-10 weeks before the last spring frost||Perennial – more than 2 years||Cool seasons – tolerant of colder weather|