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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Potted Herbs in the Kitchen

I love my fresh herbs, growing forty or more varieties in my outdoor garden.  My herb bed was nicely established in our last house but I decided not to bring any with me.  It's a long story but there was something amiss with that house especially with respect for growing anything indoors and it wasn't for lack of effort at keeping my continuous harvest going.  To me the house had bad karma, period.  I have been working quite diligently at re-establishing my lush houseplant collection that I'm used to.  Oh gosh, am I ever having fun with this!  Part of that includes growing herbs indoors.

potted herbs in the kitchen
Fresh herbs are the ultimate in cooking.  I will choose fresh over dried anytime!  During the winter months I grow as many herbs as possible indoors.  My new indoor herb garden (pictured) is rather small consisting of sage, oregano, parsley, chives and basil.  The plants are nestled into an antique wooden Pepsi case set just in front of the patio doors in the kitchen.  Once we return from our winter vacation I will be doing a lot of seed starting for herbs but there is little point doing it now.  In the meantime I will continue adding whatever potted herbs I can find.  'Tis late in the season so the selection is not the best.

I bought these potted herbs for less per pot than the price of a package of fresh herb in the produce section at the same store!  They are certified organic herbs in biodegradable pots so can be transplanted into my new gardens in the spring.  Most herbs are really quite easy to grow indoors.  They need nice light and enough water to wet through then allow to dry before watering again.  Keep in mind that some like basil are annuals so they need a bit more TLC to keep growing through the winter months and they will not survive the cold winters of Ontario outdoors.  The biggest tip with growing fresh herbs indoors is use them!  Herbs love to be trimmed and the more you trim the more they will reward you with lush growth.  The rule of thumb is to never cut more than a third of the plant in any clipping but for most kitchen use you will only use a sprig or two at a time so that shouldn't be a problem.  When you cut, leave at least one set of leaves on the stem.  Basils in particular should be regularly pinched to keep the plant bushy.  Don't let herbs go to flower

I toss fresh herbs into any dish that I can as well as using them for garnish.  Basil is a beautiful garnish, full of flavour.  Purple basil in particular is one of my favourites for salads.  Chives are just a must have herb and don't restrict yourself to just the regular chives as there are a lot of varieties to try, all very good.  Honestly, chives are like weeds.  They do well indoors and you can't kill them outdoors.  Mints can be invasive if planted with other herbs so keep them in their own pots.  Growing herbs indoors year round really enhances the culinary experience.  They take little effort but the rewards are more than worth it!


1 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

I wish I knew more about cooking with herbs, but my hubby doesn't like me to experiment. He prefers tried and true (salt, maybe pepper, haha) so I don't mess around.

But I do like your herb garden. And really, any plants in the house are good, right?
Happy Sunday, GG!