6 herbs every cook should use

Cooking with herbs is an easy way to infuse a recipe with flavour. 

If you are not sure where to start, below are Renshia Manuel’s suggestions on which herbs to grow, and how to cook with them. 

Manuel is the founder of Growbox, a social entrepreneurship company that manufactures portable grow boxes made from recycled pallets for people living in disadvantaged areas to grow vegetables sustainably. 

Parsley

Chefs prefer flat-leaved parsley over curly, since it has more flavour. Parsley does best in moist, well-drained soil and can grow in partially shaded areas. 

Use: Can be used in marinades, as a garnish or in soups and salads. 

mint tea and leaves 1296x728 - 6 herbs every cook should use
Mint can be infused in teas. Picture: Supplied

Mint

With an aggressive growth rate, mint is best in its own container, and above ground. It can handle shade, but it is better suited to strong sunlight.

Use: It can be added to smoothies, salads, and infused in teas. 

Oregano (Greek)

This herb, not to be confused with marjoram, has small and flavourful leaves. It requires full sunshine and lots of drainage. Greek Oregano is also a tender perennial that you will have to bring inside during the winter months. The leaves can be dried and stored to be used at a later stage. 

Use: Can be used in bolognaise, tomato or chilli sauces. 

lemon thyme chicken - 6 herbs every cook should use
Lemon Thyme Chicken. Picture: Supplied

Thyme

This herb has heavily scented leaves and prefers less water. You do need to give thyme exposure to full sunlight and well-drained soil.

Use: Can be used as a seasoning over seafood dishes. 

Basil

Relatively easy to grow, basil prefers sunny locations. It also does best in rich soil that is well watered.

Use: Can be sprinkled fresh over the top of your pizza, added to tomato-based pasta sauces just before serving or added to soups.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes cooking with essential oils 3 124x683 - 6 herbs every cook should use
Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes. Picture: Supplied

Rosemary

The resinous leaves of rosemary are highly aromatic. The herb requires cool climates with plenty of sun and moist (not wet) soil. It is also best to bring rosemary indoors for the winter. 

Use: Can be infused in oils or as seasoning over meat, and fish dishes. 

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