I’m so pleased to have Bryn writing for us today. Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize and nurtures her HGTV obsession. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Decor and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker, About.com and on her personal blog Her Own Wings.
If you love the taste of fresh ingredients and the satisfaction of providing for yourself, a kitchen herb garden is a perfect addition to your home. Herbs are fairly easy to take care of, making them the perfect gateway to serious gardening for those looking to cultivate a green thumb. They’re also nearly impossible to neglect when they’re right there in your kitchen! And if you’re already an experienced gardener, a kitchen herb garden is a great way to keep doing what you love even during winter.
For anyone who has a passion for adding bold flavors to dishes or wants to try a hand at homemade hygiene products, Modernize suggests the perfect herbs to get your kitchen garden thriving.
Mint is a versatile, refreshing herb with countless uses. In fact, every other herb on this list is part of the mint family. Mint chocolate cake and mint juleps are perfect for entertaining guests, while mint tea can soothe a stomach ache. You can also chew on mint for a quick breath freshener, and even make a homemade flea repellent out of this herb for your furry family member.
While mint is ideal for anything refreshing, like cocktails and salads, rosemary is a perfect addition to cold-weather comfort meals. It can add the perfect nuance to potatoes, dressings, meat, veggies—pretty much any food you can think of as long as you don’t overdo it. It also makes a lovely garnish.
Lavender is known as an all-purpose herb when it comes to fragrance, cleanliness, and relaxation. You can use it to make your own candles, bubble bath, soap, detergent, and potpourri. Don’t forget that its beauty makes it perfect for a wreath or bouquet. But never mind non-edible options—think about the creative ways you can use it in food. If you feel ambitious, lavender macaroons are the height of elegance. Lavender lattes and lemonade are unique and delicious treats that will have all your guests talking long after the party’s over.
Like the other herbs on this list, thyme is very aromatic and has uses both inside and outside of the kitchen. But when it comes to the kitchen, it’s really an all-occasion ingredient that can transform bland to brilliant. From simple pasta meals to the most elaborate dish, it makes a perfect addition—but it pairs most perfectly with Mediterranean flavors like garlic, lemon, olive oil, and oregano. Its earthy flavor is interesting to the palate without being overwhelming.
Basil comes in several varieties that can add dynamics to almost any dish. There are spicy, fruity, earthy, and sweet varieties, all of which add their own value and play off of other tastes. Like the other herbs on this list, basil is also known for its remedial properties and can help clear up coughs and colds as well as stomach ailments. While this is known more as a summer herb, you can grow it in winter in the warmth of your home, as long as it’s not taking the draft from a dry heating element.
All of these herbs fair best with at least four hours of sunlight per day, warmth, and humidity. As winter approaches, make sure they are all safe from direct drafts from your heater and that they receive plenty of water.
Which are your favorite kitchen herbs, and how do you most often use them? Let us know in the comments below!