Cooking all our meals at home can become monotonous with the same old, same old ingredients you consistently buy from the store. But there’s something to be said for growing your own food at home. It’s a process that requires time, patience, and care. Then, something magical happens when you finally get to harvest: you get to enjoy a delicious reward.
To spice things up a bit, here are five easy and healthy herbs you can grow in your kitchen that will help add flavor, variety, enjoyment, and nutrition to your life.
Parsley is easy to grow and looks beautiful in your kitchen. You can add it to any meat dish or salad, or you could even add it to your bath water for a soothing soak. Did you know that in ancient Rome the plant was attributed with magical powers and it was believed that by eating the seeds one could become invisible and get supernatural strength? Maybe you can settle for disappearing to the tub.
The compounds found in the leaves are antimicrobial. The high content of antioxidants, vitamin C, and carotenoids help strengthen the immune system and build up resistance against infections and diseases. Parsley also contains flavonoids, glucosides, phthalide, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C and E, and minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, sulfur, copper and manganese.
Make sure to plant it in a deep pot with organic soil and good light. A sunny window sill would be perfect. When it’s ready to be harvested, whip up this Lemon Parsley Chicken recipe.
Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley, comes from the regions of the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. The herb has been used for medicine and for food for many years because of its anti-septic characteristics and antioxidant compounds. Cilantro contains chemical compounds that allow heavy metals to bind together.
Research is showing the anti-inflammatory health benefits of cilantro. A 2019 study examined the effects of cilantro extract on individual prostate cancer cells. The researchers found that the herb reduced the expression of specific genes in cancer cells. A 68-person study of the effect of cilantro on migraines showed a reduced severity, duration, and frequency of migraines compared to the control group.
The seeds are known as coriander, which also makes for a great addition to a savory dinner dish. Get inspired to sow those cilantro seeds with this delicious-looking Steak with Chipotle – Lime Chimichurri recipe.
Mint is a perennial plant that grows well and makes a wonderful houseplant. There are many varieties but each can be recognized by its square stem.
The health benefits of mint are wide-ranging from improved digestion to nausea, headache and fatigue-relief. A review of nine studies including over 700 patients with IBS found that taking peppermint oil capsules improved Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms significantly more than placebo capsules.
Keep the soil moist, but allow for food drainage, and give them at least moderate light. Most mint varieties are hardy perennials that can tolerate temperatures into the 30 Fahrenheit. But be careful–they can spread quickly and take over unwanted areas if it’s not contained in a pot or some type of container.
Aromatic mint is great on its own, in ice cream, in tea or simply placing a mint leaf in your ice cubes can add the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day.
Basil is used in kitchens all over the world. It is best known as the prized herb used in Italian cuisine. But it also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
Basil has been used in many different cultures to help with stomach spasms, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, head colds, warts, and worm infections. It is also used to treat snake and insect bites. Women sometimes use basil before and after childbirth to promote blood circulation, and also to encourage the flow of breast milk.
Basil loves the sun, so give it southern exposure. To ensure a consistent supply, plant a new batch of seeds every few weeks.
Next time you’re in the mood for zoodles, check out this Basil Pesto recipe.
The needled leaves on rosemary are among the most popular herbs to add to chicken, pork, lamb, soups, potatoes, and olive oil. It’s also delicious in tomato and cream sauces. The herb was used in ancient times and dates back to 500 B.C. when it was used as a culinary and medicinal herb by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Rosemary was used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.
Rosemary tolerates hot, sunny, dry locations in the summer months, but prefers cooler temperatures (below 65 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter, as long as the light is strong.
If you really want to impress the family, top a Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Roast with freshly harvested rosemary you grew at home.