Whether it’s only during the winter months or you don’t have an opportunity to plant herbs outside in a yard or on a balcony, growing herbs can help keep meals exciting and fresh. It’s a way to liven up your kitchen and add a nice fragrance to your dishes, even if you dry your herbs.
Getting started is easy. Check out this brief tutorial on creating a mason jar herb garden. You can also find my tips for seed starting here. Herbs are easy to start from seeds! Just remember to label, if you cannot identify herbs already, adding tags is super helpful. On my Pinterest board, you can find cute plant labelling ideas.
Here are my favourite herbs to grow indoors:
It gives a cooling sensation and is used in a variety of plates from desserts to mains. It can be found in recipes for lamb, fruit salads, falafel, salmon, chocolate cakes and mojitos. This is a common herb within North American and Middle Eastern dishes. It can grow wildly, so containing it inside can help prevent it spreading throughout an entire garden bed. Olive Magazine has released how to best chop fresh mint and some fun recipes to try!
It has a citrusy strong flavour. Many people think you either will love or hate it (I loveeee it!). It is commonly used in salsas, guacamole, soups, salads, and with chicken, tomatoes, tofu, seafood, lamb and lentils. Many Mexican and Indian dishes use cilantro, but Indian recipes often refer to it as Coriander. Food and Wine has posted 19 recipes for cilantro-lovers!
Chives have a similar taste to onions and leeks, but has a less potent flavour. It is most popularly used as a garnish for starchy dishes with potatoes, rice or risotto, but is also used in soups, sauces and dips. It complements chicken, fish, eggs, shellfish and asparagus. Kitchn wrote an in-depth piece about chives.
It is a very delicate herb that flows in the breeze when outside. It pairs well with starchy foods (like potatoes and rice), and is great for pickling. It is commonly used in soups and stews, and on fish. It can be used in popcorn seasonings or mixed into yogurt-like dips such as tzatziki. Dill popcorn is my favourite! Here is a recipe to make this snack. We used to have a popcorn order on Fridays at my elementary school. You could get a bag for $1. They brought it around the classrooms in a red wagon and then you lined up at the class door. I always got dill!
It has small leaves with a strong fragrance. It goes well with fish, chicken, duck, eggs and hearty vegetables. It is found in recipes for sauces, rice dishes, dips, marinades and stews. It is often used in Mediterranean dishes. This one looks pretty and I love to use it in plating when there’s guests over. Honestly, I leave it to my mom for the eating part though.
It is famously used in salad dressings, and also tomato sauces for pizza and pasta. It complements tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, beef, chicken, fish, lamb and rabbit. It is common in Italian, Greek and Mexican cuisine. Who goes wild with oregano on their pizza? Raise your hand and click here for pizza dough inspiration!
I wonder if my love for many of these spices comes from my Mediterranean heritage. Fania, my maternal grandma (I call her Bobo), grew up in Macedonia. She was always cooking when we’d be visiting my mom’s side of the family.
Do flavours from your childhood influence your cooking and eating preferences? Let me know in the comments!