There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs in recipes you prepare. If you’re lucky enough to have an herb garden, you can enjoy that great taste as often as you like, but what do you do if you don’t have space for a garden outdoors?
Luckily many herbs are easy to grow in small areas such as kitchen window sills. They need warmth, sunlight and water. And if your kitchen doesn’t have enough natural sunlight during the day, you can also place them in rooms with better natural sunlight. Remember that it takes about three times as much fresh herb to get the flavor of a dried seasoning, but the taste is much better.
Look for herbs which will remain relatively small. Those that can end up too wide or too tall may not fit in the area you’ve chosen to grow them. You’ll also want to consider the type of cooking you do most often and choose herbs that will match that type of cooking you enjoy most. Below are five herbs you can easily grow in your kitchen window or another in your home.
This herb, which tastes like a combination of garlic and onions, can be added to homemade salad dressing, sour cream, soups or burgers. You may want to substitute chives for onions in some recipes to give your food a little different taste. These can be started from seed quite easily. Your recipe will also have a unique taste depending upon whether you use fresh or dried herbs. My favorite recipe to use chives in is my super easy homemade Ranch Dressing (stay tuned for the recipe!).
Basil is used in many ethnic foods, and is probably in many of your favorite Italian, Mexican, or even Thai recipes.
If you’re preparing a dish with tomatoes, basil is a natural herb to choose. There are several varieties to choose from and you can either start them from seed or purchase seedlings. Basil is a very forgiving herb to grow and is especially good for first-time herb growers as basil seems to just want to grow and often results in a bountiful and continuous harvest!
Cilantro or Coriander
This is another herb which can be grown easily from seeds. Depending on whether you’re using the leaves or allowing the herb to go to seed, you can use cilantro in Mexican, Indian, or some middle eastern dishes.
Some people don't enjoy the taste of cilantro, but I personally feel it is an absolute Must in my Mexican dishes… especially in guacamole! It adds a freshness that is unbeatable.
I know cilantro can be a hot topic… how about you… are you cilantro fan or does it taste like soap?
Mint is a universal herb which is used in a myriad of cuisines. If you live in the South you know it can be added to iced tea. (Oooh, actually, it would probably be really delicious added to my Lavender Peach Tea too!) You can also use it as an ingredient in salads, jellies and desserts. It can be started as seeds or seedlings.
I personally love mint as a warm herbal tea. Really any time of the year it can be used to cool and soothe the throat and airways, especially helpful during cold & flu season, but is a wonderful remedy for an unsettled tummy!
Thyme is often used when cooking meats and other savory dishes. It's best to start these out as seedlings so you can begin using the herb as quickly as possible.
Seeds and seedlings for the above herbs can be found at many discount stores as well as farmer’s co-ops. If you choose to grow your herbs from seeds, follow the instructions on the packet to plant them. Before you know it, you’ll have fresh herbs to harvest and enjoy in your home cooked meals.