Our clocks have sprung ahead one hour, and we are enjoying more sunlight at the end of the day. Spring flowers are beginning to poke through the ground and brighten our surroundings. This is a great time to consider planting an indoor herb garden. The ideal setting for an indoor garden is your kitchen. To grow well indoors, herbs need as much natural light as possible. Place them in a sunny spot near a window that faces south and receives at least 6 hours of sun daily. While indoor light is not quite as intense as direct light outdoors, light coming in through an unblocked, south-facing window is enough for most herbs. Some herbs that require less light, like mint, parsley, and thyme, can also grow well in west-facing windows. If you think of herbs as more than a garnish, they can bump up the nutritional quality of your diet. They will add flavor to foods, so you can use less salt. A diet that’s high in sodium isn’t good for your health and may raise your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. And like dark leafy greens, herbs such as basil, oregano, and parsley contain antioxidants that help protect against cell damage. Toss a handful of your favorite herb into a salad, soup, or a vegetable and whole-grain side dish, or make a pesto from various herbs to dress pasta, vegetables, or whole grains.
Try growing these culinary herbs:
- Mint (Chocolate Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint, or Sweet Mint)
- Oregano (Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, or Hot & Spicy Oregano)
- Lemon Balm
- Parsley (Flat Italian Parsley or Curled Parsley)
- Thyme (German Thyme or Lemon Thyme)
Additional benefits of growing indoor herbs include not having the waste that can often come with buying expensive packaged herbs. You will also have fresh herbs at your fingertips all year long.
If you are not quite sure which herbs complement specific entrees, consider pairing your herbs as follows:
- Pasta and Grains: bail, chervil, thyme
- Poultry: basil, bay leaf, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme
- Seafood: basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, mint, parsley, sage, tarragon, thyme
- Beef: bay leaf, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme
- Salads: basil, chervil, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, watercress
- Soups: oregano, parsley
- Asparagus – dill, parsley, tarragon
- Beets – fennel, savory
- Carrots – mint, parsley, sage, tarragon
- Corn – marjoram, parsley, thyme
- Cucumbers – chives, dill, mint
- Dried beans – mint, savory, tarragon, thyme
- Green beans – dill, marjoram, parsley
- Peas – mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory
- Potatoes – chives, dill, parsley
- Spinach – rosemary
- Squash – savory, parsley
- Tomatoes – basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme
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