Chefs Know Herbs

first_imgThe world of herbs is deliciously diverse. And all you need is a pot, a window box or asmall garden plot, and you can have an herb garden. Add a sunny spot andwell-drained soil, and you’re ready to plant herbs. “Give the neighbor four houses down some mint and go harvest it for them,” he said.”Mint takes over everything. It will be a weed in no time. It’s very aggressive.” What’s the difference between a cook and a chef? In a word: herbs. “Try using the purple blossoms from chives,” he said. “They’re beautiful in salads.You can choose from among 19 kinds of basils. And the flat-leaf Italian parsley iseasier to grow than the curly-leaf variety and has much better flavor. “Coriander looks like parsley,” he said. “They use it in Mexican food. I call it a greenflavor. It goes well with tomatoes, and it’s easy to grow.” Just don’t overfertilize herbs. “You don’t want them to grow too much,” McLaurinsaid. “When you have succulent growth, you dilute essential oils. And that’s where theflavor is.” And don’t bother using pesticides. Most herbs have little to no insect or diseaseproblems. Most herbs are hardy plants, McLaurin said. When you get ready to plant, divide theannuals and perennials so you can leave the perennials in place. You can also stickherbs into flower beds. “A chef knows the difference between culinary and fragrant herbs and uses themflagrantly in cooking,” said Wayne McLaurin, a University of Georgia ExtensionService horticulturist who numbers himself among the chefs.center_img McLaurin adds a few tips for these easy-growers. If you enjoy the graceful visits of butterflies, try planting fennel and dill. Swallowtailswill lay eggs on these herbs. The easiest ones to grow include chives, basil, parsley, dill, fennel and rosemary.French tarragon is about the only herb that has trouble with the Georgia heat. “If you grow herbs, you can make up your own seasoning,” he said. “You can reducethe use of salt a great deal by replacing it with various herb flavorings.” “My kids used to say whatever doesn’t have onions or garlic on it is probably dessert,”McLaurin said. Alongside your herbs, throw in some nasturtiums to use like herbs. McLaurin saidthese plants aren’t just pretty. They’re edible. The leaves and flowers have a hot pepperflavor. Some combinations are almost automatic: dill with fish, basil with tomatoes, onionsand garlic with everything.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *