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Heavenly Herbs

Updated: Apr 27

 2024 is Marching right along, with the sweet scents of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme ushering in the Springtime. This month we’re focusing on savory plants with culinary uses. Of the numerous plants that have edible attributes, the four featured here are staples in the cooking world. These herbs will awaken your senses with their rich aromas, unique textures, and ability to enhance your favorite dish. 


Rosemary

     A wiry, aromatic shrub with thin, needle-like leaves and tiny blue flowers, Rosemary originates in the Mediterranean and is used in many cuisines. This herb packs a pungent punch, adding savory notes to sauces, meats, and stews, to name a few. Its flavor profile is a blend of lemon and pine. Rosemary is best grown in the sun with good drainage. After cooking it’s a good idea to remove the sprig from the dish before eating as the texture is pretty tough to chew.




Thyme    

     This hearty herb is not only a great choice for flavoring your favorite roasted chicken recipe, it’s also believed to have many healthy benefits, including boosting immunity and mood and deterring bacterial infections. When cooked with, it’s used to add flavor to everything from eggplant dishes to steak. Fun fact: in the Middle Ages clusters of thyme were tucked under pillows at night to help with sleep and to ward off nightmares. These days it’s sold both dried and fresh and is fairly easy to grow, preferring full sun and good drainage. I think we can safely say that thyme is on our side!      




Basil

     Lemon, sweet, purple, Holy, Thai, Mexican spice…there are many familiar names in the basil family, each with unique flavors and uses. Holy basil, for example, is used in traditional Indian medicine to reduce inflammation and improve brain health (among other things) while lemon basil (also called Thai lemon basil) is used to help wounds heal quicker and to lower cortisol levels. Beyond the health benefits, this tender leafy aromatic plant is used worldwide for cooking, from Italian (pasta anyone?) to Thai (mouth-watering stir fry, oh my!) to Taiwanese dishes (three-cup chicken, so ono!).  




Green Onions

     Also called scallions, these thin vegetables have tubular green leaves that grow directly from the bulb. The only non-herb to make the list, green onions are similar in taste to their herb-y cousin chives. They are used in many different cuisines around the world, from Chinese stir fry to Mexican Asado dishes, and of course as a garnish for many local recipes like shoyu chicken. The leaves have a taste like regular onions, but tend to be much more mild. They are easy to grow, often being grown in a container, pot, or in the ground. When planting, keep in mind that they like cooler temperatures but can tolerate some sun.     




Herbs are a delicious and nutritious addition to your kitchen. Whether you’re on the hunt for sweet or savory, zesty or subtle, there are plenty of plants in nature’s cupboard to help you bring your next meal to life. Time to get cooking!


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