5 Culinary Herbs Every Chef Should Grow

Before you start your potted herb garden there are 5 culinary herbs every chef should grow, and you may want to make sure they’re on your list too. These herbs have been chosen based on their versatility in the kitchen and there benefits to the body and are discussed here in no particular order.

Basil is a wonderful fragrant herb that goes well with tomatoes and vegetables, and blends well with the herbs parsley, rosemary and thyme. Garden fresh it is the basic component of pesto and can be dried for year round use. Basil supports the digestive system and has anti-gas properties and is commonly used to help with stress, headaches, nausea and bowel cramping. It’s also good at repelling flies and other irritating insects.

Parsley adds a delightful peppery flavor to food. It goes well with meat, poultry, and potatoes. It is often a staple in the Thanksgiving turkey along with sage, rosemary and thyme. It can be used fresh or dried. Parsley also supports digestive health by encouraging proper digestion, it’s a diuretic, and inhibits the production of histamines which helps with colds and allergies. Eaten raw, it also freshens breath.

Rosemary is a strong aromatic herb wonderful for roasted potatoes, and sauteed eggplant, zucchini or tomatoes. It is commonly used with pork, chicken and fish. Rosemary has been used for headaches, stomach and digestive disorders, and helps reduce swelling. The needles can be used in a dish that is being prepared, a sprig can be added to the fire when grilling, and used in marinades for beef and chicken. It can also be put into the oven while bread is baking for a wonderful flavor.

Thyme is another dominant aroma producing herb that goes well with most all meats. The fresh sprigs can be used or it can be dried. It is a staple for stocks and sauces, soups and stews. Medicinally, it is a digestive aid, good for fighting intestinal worms and used as a cough remedy. Thyme is a major ingredient in many mouth washes.

Chives have a fairly strong onion flavor and are great in salads, stews and soups. They are often used with eggs, potatoes, cottage cheese, and mayonnaise. Chives can be used fresh or dried, but are much better and preferred by most fresh. Chives can aid in digestion and stimulate the appetite. They have anti inflammatory properties and benefit the respiratory system. Minced leaves and the edible flower head can be floated in a bowl of slightly chilled fresh tomato soup for a fun lunch.

Basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and chives are all versatile herbs with great medicinal properties. In addition to their culinary benefits, every chef should consider growing them for their medicinal value as well.

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