The easy way to grow your own herbs this spring


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Growing an herb garden of your own will make your homemade meals taste incredibly fresh and flavorful! Herbs can be planted indoors when there is a danger of frost outside. You can enjoy your favorites all year long. Like any other plant, you just need some sunlight and water, along with some patience and guidance.


Hands down, my favorite herb, fresh or dried, is basil. Leaf for leaf, nothing beats its flavor and versatility in the kitchen. When I have fresh basil on hand, I have it as the star in my marinara, adding just a can of crushed tomatoes and fresh garlic, and onion. I love using basil in this fresh Avocado Caprese Salad or this mouth-watering Grilled Mozzarella Sandwich with Walnut Pesto.

When selecting which herbs to plant, think about your favorites and how often you use them. Will a small plant do, or do you need to plant it outdoors in a larger pot?

In my Mediterranean dishes, like this Lebanese-Inspired Okra Beef Tomato Stew or this easy weeknight Garlic Cilantro Oven Baked Salmon, cilantro is an oft-used herb. But it’s a short-lived plant, and I use huge bunches at a time, so I’m better off buying it at the market.

Understanding how you’ll use the herbs will help you with selection.


Did you know….?

  • Fresh Oregano is much milder than dried.
  • Many herbs can be grown just from cuttings!
  • Although less popular, Italian parsley is much more flavorful than curly parsley
  • Most herbs prefer lots of sun; cilantro loves shade


Depending on how often you cook with fresh herbs and the season, you’ll need to decide whether to plant your herbs indoors, outdoors, or both. Once you decide, you’ll have to find a sunny location for most plants.

  • For indoor herb gardens, you’ll need to select a location near a window for sunlight.
  • For outdoor herb gardens, you may be wise to segregate your herbs from the rest of your garden, or plant them in pots. Some herbs grow rapidly and spread, such as mint.


If grown inside, the herbs should be placed in a container and watered whenever the top of the soil looks dry, about every two weeks. When selecting a container, get creative! Use decorative pails or recycled coffee cans. Whatever container you use, make sure you plant the herb in a fertilized rich soil. For your outdoor garden, choose a pot based on the size of the plant and how much you have to cut each time. Some herbs make lovely border plants and produce pretty flowers, like chives.


If you find these tips for how to grow an herb garden useful, I’d love to hear from you!

This article originally appeared on FeelGoodFoodie and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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Freeze your herbs to keep them fresh this summer

Freeze your herbs to keep them fresh this summer

We’ve all done it: A recipe calls for parsley, we use a few stems and let the rest molder in the crisper. There is a better way!

Can you freeze herbs? Absolutely. Learn how to freeze fresh herbs and stop wasting the bounty from your garden or even the grocery store. 

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  • Wash and dry the herbs.
  • Cut or mince them into the size dice you like to use.

  • Place loose pockets of herbs in the ice cube dish compartments. Do not pack the herbs in. If you like, measure the amounts, such a one teaspoon per cube or whatever fits your ice cube tray. This comes in handy when you are following recipes later.
  • Now, pour olive oil in to cover.
  • Then put the filled trays in the freezer. Once solid, remove the frozen cubes and store in a Ziploc bag or other freezer safe container for up to six months.
  • When ready to use, simply add the number of herbs required for a recipe straight into a skillet or thaw first if adding to a cold dish like pasta salad.

  • First, rinse the herbs and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Then place herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer.

  • Once frozen, transfer the herbs into an airtight container or freezer-safe Ziploc-type bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.
  • To use, simply remove the herbs one sprig at a time and add to recipes.

  1. Learn which herbs are best frozen in oil. Herbs with thinner, more fragile leaves – think basil or cilantro – take best to being chopped and frozen in oil. Their fragility makes them less suited to freezing whole. Heartier herbs, think those with thicker leaves and twig-like stems – rosemary and oregano – do well being frozen whole.
  2. Dry your herbs off very well before freezing. You can do so by blotting with paper towels and/or leaving to dry in a strainer for a while.
  3. Freeze while fresh for the best taste. While less-than-fresh herbs can be frozen, ensure they have the most zing by freezing when fresh from the garden or store.


Question: My defrosted herbs are darker in color. They no longer look fresh. Are they OK?

Answer: Yes, they are still fine. Freezing does not always do so, but it can change the color of fresh herbs.

Q: Is there a way to avoid herbs changing color in the freezer?

A: Taking the extra step of blanching herbs like basil will help keep their color bright but may not be worth the effort. To blanch, immerse herbs in boiling water for a few seconds and then immediately plunge into an ice bath.

Q: Generally, when should I use frozen versus fresh herbs?

A: If you want to float one perfect green basil leaf on top of a pizza, totally fresh is the way to go. However, for minced herbs, especially in cooked dishes, it is hard to tell the difference.

Just like saving leftovers, extending the life of your herbs is like having money in the bank. They are a culinary asset, there to withdraw (from the freezer!) as needed.

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