Every season has its own set of flavors. Fall and Winter showcase full bodied flavors like cardamom, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, while the warmer weathered months of Spring and Summer beckon for fresher and lighter flavor.In celebration of the Spring season (and soon to be summer) here are seven Springtime herbs for your home garden – even if that backyard garden includes a few small planters or pots on your kitchen windowsill.
Basil is a springtime herb that is most associated with Italian dishes like pasta or pizza, but there are two types to consider when planning your springtime garden. Italian Sweet Basil is a versatile summer herb that is best used raw in salads or soups as it does not withstand heat well. If you are looking for a sturdier spice, try planting Thai Basil, which tastes slightly less sweet than its Italian Basil counterpart.
When caring for basil, remember to prune it back to promote growth by pinching the basil back above the bottom-most leaf. If your basil starts sprouting flowers, trim them immediately. Flowers indicate the basil may soon go to seed, which will make this herb bitter in taste.
Recipe Recommendation: Italian Paleo Meatloaf
Chives, another springtime herb, have a delicate onion flavor and like Italian Basil, don’t stand up well to heat, so it’s best to use them as garnish on potatoes, salads or soups. You can even infuse butter or salad dressings with chives for a subtle touch of added flavor.
Chives are a great springtime herb to plant because they don’t require too much maintenance. When harvesting chives, simply cut them straight across, but be warned, once you trim the chives, they will not come back, so if you want a steady supply, plant them in succession so you can enjoy chives all spring and summer long.
Recipe Recommendation: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing
Cilantro is incredibly versatile and can add a pop of fresh flavor to drinks, dressings, guacamole and even smoothies. Cilantro compliments both sweet and savory flavors so don’t be afraid to get creative with it in the kitchen!
Cilantro is incredibly delicate when it comes to planting, so you want to purposely overseed them so more plants come in each time you harvest it. This herb also tends to take off quickly,
so you will want to grow enough to harvest, but not so much it goes to seed. If your cilantro does go to seeds, you can cook with the seeds themselves, which are actually coriander!
Recipe Recommendation: Steak Fajitas Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice
Dill can grow pretty large, so make sure you have enough space or a large pot to plant it in. Dill has a delicate anise-y flavor and is best used raw. It pairs well with fish like wild caught salmon, beets, eggs and yogurt. You can of course use it to make your own homemade pickles too.
Fun Fact: Dill can attract both birds and butterflies to your yard!
Recipe Recommendation: Bacon-Jalapeno Burger Balls with Dill Relish and Awesome Sauce
Also known as spearmint, mint is an incredibly hardy herb and is a perennial, so it will grace your garden with its presence every year. (One less thing to plant!) However, mint can easily become invasive, so it’s best to monitor its growth closely. Enjoy it in beverages (Moscow Mule anyone) or in salads and sauces. You can even add it to your favorite tea for a fresh burst of fresh minty flavor.
Recipe Recommendation: Grilled Lamb Chops with Pineapple-Mint Pico de Galo
Often used as a decorative plant in many gardens and landscapes, rosemary is an evergreen shrub. Believed by the Greeks to be an excellent herb for the brain, its fragrant needle-like leaves are available fresh all year long if well taken care of. Rosemary pairs well with roasted meats such as chicken and lamb and can be used to infuse your favorite cooking oils.
Recipe Recommendation: Garlic and Rosemary Lamb
Thyme is a very hardy plant, which means it can withstand heated cooking, making it an easy and delicious addition to breads, broths, doughs, meats like beef, chicken or pork, soups and stocks. It can even be cooked down and turned into a simple syrup for cocktails.
Recipe Recommendation: Quick and Easy Thyme, Honey and Dijon Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
When planting springtime herbs, pick plants you will enjoy using in your cooking and remember, your springtime herbs and garden should be unique as your palette, so have fun with it! Happy spring time planting everyone.
Visit the Discover Blog for more tips and tricks from Ashley Martens.