Monday, February 27, 2012

Growing a Hodgepodge of Herbs

There's a reason the food at the best restaurants has so much flavor. Most good chefs know that fresh tastes best, and fresh herbs are quite often the reason for the additional flavor you don't always find at home. Not only do fresh herbs add flavor, but the aroma they produce
tantalizes the senses, subtly urging you to want more.

Most of us, at one time or another, have grown the traditional parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Nurseries and seed catalogs are offering so many more selections today, with new varieties of the old standards and more exotic selections, as well.

Herbs can be grown in containers, small garden plots or mixed into existing beds. Not only are they a beautiful addition to a garden, adding color and texture, but they also give fragrance to your outdoor spaces.

A few herbs you may be interested in trying are:

  • African Blue Basil - Purple leaves that turn green as the leaves grow to full size, with a distinctly sweet flavor.
  • Genovese Basil - Most common of the basil varieties, the flavor is slightly peppery and somewhat sweet.
  • Holy Basil - Pale green or purple leaves with pinkish flowers, it has a strong clove flower and is used in many Thai recipes.
  • Spicy Globe Basil - Smaller leaves, with a sweet and slightly peppery, but strong flavor.
  • Lime Basil - A citrus scent and flavor that's great with poultry and fish.
  • Chives - A member of the onion family, chives are the perfect addition to soups, salads and omelets.
  • Dill - Bluish-green stems with yellowish flowers, dill adds flavor to fish, lamb, pork, poultry, cheese, eggs and vegetables.
  • Crinkle Leaf Marjoram - A low, mounding marjoram with golden, crinkled leaves and a scent of oregano. It is heat and drought tolerant.
  • Greek Oregano - Extremely drought tolerant with white flowers, the flavor is hot and peppery.
  • Apple Mint - Tall sturdy stems with large, fuzzy leaves that smell slightly of apple. A mellow flavor that is perfect for fruit salads.

We've only listed a few, but there is an endless variety available. Visit your nursery, look over the catalogs and pick a few new plants to try.

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