Growing herbs for cooking (Gardening Tips ‘n’ Ideas)

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Growing herbs for cooking

Culinary herbs, those used for cooking, are one of the most essential ingredients one could grow in their garden. If you’re already growing your own veggies then planting and nurturing some natural flavourings is the next logical project. But the question I get asked most when people discover that I am was a chef and that I love to garden is, “Which herbs should I use for [insert main ingredient here]?” Most people either worry that they’re going to get it wrong and therefore don’t use anything or they don’t care and use herbs inappropriately. If you’ve ever tried carrot soup with chocolate mint, you know what I’m talking about.
As a guide I suggest to most people to taste the herb and get a feel for the sensations that are derived from it. Is it strong and robust or is it a more delicate flavour? Is it bitter or sweet? And then think about the main ingredient you’re trying to cook with. What flavours does that have and are they strong or mild, bitter or sweet? Then it’s just a case of marrying the two and producing your mind-blowing meal.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.