5, 10, 15 Essential Kitchen Herbs

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5, 10, 15 Essential Kitchen Herbs

I received an email last week asking what l thought were the 5,10, 15 most essential herbs for the kitchen? Which is a great question in my eyes. I love herbs almost as much as  l love weeds so l am happy to list what l think are essential herbs.

First off, l am not an expert gardener, in fact in recent months all l am at best is a textbook gardener, l have worked with gardening off and on for the last twenty years or so and with herbs – of those twenty years perhaps 5 have been spent with herbs.

When l was working in the stables one of my jobs was to attend the herb garden for my employers and so l learned a lot through that next to studying weeds as a lot of those are ancient herbs and early cultivated vegetables allowed to grow wild as well as Suze and l working with herbs here.

But there are some excellent herbs out there that can work wonders when in the kitchen. One question l was also asked is with the free availability of herbs that you can buy from supermarkets for silly cheap prices what is the point to growing your own for the table?

Well this answer is three fold, but it all centres on finances  and magement.

1] Grow your own herbs, like you would grow your own vegetables because you are saving money and producing something of quality over something of less quality that has only been harvested, potted and made ready for sale because it is a much cheaper commodity.

2] Because growing your own is more reliable and convenient to you, it enables you to have a surplus quantity from one plant which can continue to be reaped as a harvest over something that might only have a few pickings from it before it is discarded and a new plant purchased.

3] Because growing your own and more so organically means you are in more control of what chemicals you are unwittingly buying with your herbs or not.

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This post is only dealing with the actual herbs in the ‘essential’ catagory and is not dealing with planting, maintaining, growing or harvesting.

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One of the first things you would really need to identify is what herbs do you use a lor of to begin with – be this even in dried or packet form or if you buy a lot of potted herbs from the store.

For instance Suze and l have a garden filled with herbs as in ‘bedded herbs’ and we will also start to plant out herbs in trays next month [when the heat is guaranteed] for those that are just less hardy than the ones in our soil outside.

There are many , many herbs to select from, but what you need them for mostly will reflect upon your diet as in what you eat on a regular basis like meats and fish or vegetables, whether you make a lot of side supplements like ‘pesto’s or whether you do lots of pickling. What flavours, scents and tastes you like in your cooking – or perhaps maybe you don’t use herbs for cooking at you use herbs for something else – however this post is only dealing with the cooking, salads, side dishes and garnish side to the kitchen.

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5, 10, 15 Essential Kitchen Herbs

I have graded these in so far as for convenience of growing and of use in the kitchen, but in truth if you had the time and patience as well as space, you could grow all of these in the house and you could choose to have a top 5 different to my choices, however these 15 are considered the ‘commercial’ essentials for the kitchen as in these are the most widely bought and grown and used by cooks.

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Top 5 Herbs – Name

Useful Links

1

Mints – there are several types of Mint you could grow for the kitchen – it is useful for cooking, garnish as well as for putting in ice cubes for summer drinks. Really easy to grow, invasive, best in pots.

Mint

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2

Chives are a really lovely garnish but you can also add them into your salads, they are great for flavouring. Really easy to grow.

Chives

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3

Dill – superb for meat and fish flavouring as well as vegetables like potatoes – very easy to grow.

Dill

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4

Basil – there are many types of basil you could choose to decide to grow. Great for garnish, flavour and of course pesto and sauces. I love picking a handful of the leaves and then one by one just eating them slowly, they are really quite refreshing.

Basil

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5

Coriander/Cilantro – aka Chinese Parsley is great for adding to salads and cooking alike, makes a nice ‘chew’ and more so if you have indigestion and is a great addition to spicy foods.

Coriander/Cilantro

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Top 10 Herbs – Name

Useful Links

6

Parsley – Curly or Flat leaf the choice is yours – acts as a nice garnish equally as well as a good flavour enhancer and or an extra salad ingredient. Easy to grow,but can be climatic orientated. A vitamin rich herb.

Parsley

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7

Sage is great for seasoning meats, fish and vegetables as well as sauces. sage is quite strong willed and scented herb, so take care with use in case it overpowers the flavours you are cooking with. There are many different varieties of sage from garden all the way through to Russian and beyond – so the choice for your kitchen is vast.

Sage

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8

Rosemary – filled with flavour for meat, fish, poultry and vegetables and sauces and soups.

Rosemary

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9

Thyme – great for flavouring, l tend to like it especially with eggs and often make up an omelette with a mixture of herbs including thyme to the mix. Most common variety is garden, but there are other varieties such as lemon, wild and caraway.

Thyme

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10

Fennel – another flavoursome herb and great for the kitchen and is great with fish, very similiar to that of Dill,  can be eaten raw also.

Fennel

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Top 15 Herbs – Name

Useful Links

11

Tarragon – great spicy anise flavour, superb in salads, meat and fish dishes, soups and sauces and vegetables. a great fresh herb for any kitchen

Tarragon

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12

Bay leaves – a great addition in stews, casseroles, soups – fresh or dried, that choice is yours, although we prefer fresh.

Bay

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13

Chervil – slightly tainted with anise, another great ingredient companion with fish, meat, poultry, game meats, vegetables, salads and eggs

Chervil

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14

Oregano – sometimes known as wild marjoram and related to sweet marjoram and is mostly used for flavouring with meats, fish and vegetables, fresh or dried. But can also be used in sauces, soups and salads, dressings and oils.

Oregano

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15

Winter Savoury is great as a favoursome spicy herb addition to meats, fish, poultry and vegetables and game meats.

Winter Savoury

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So there we go folks – the 5,10 and 15 best essential kitchen herbs. What herbs do you prefer to cook with if they are not listed here?

Tomorrow we start to look at the joys and benefits of composting.

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