Herbs are absolutely beautiful to grow and easier than you might think. They add life to so many recipes, gardens, and beverages and worth exploring more. I first learned how to garden through fresh herbs on my kitchen window sill. My kids also have a growing love for creative cooking and flavor combining through growing and tending to herbs. Let’s talk about how to grow, how to use and how to store fresh herbs.
If growing herbs is new to you, then start small. I relied on Pinterest and neighbors with green thumbs to help me understand how to prune + water those little leafy babies. Fresh herbs are little risk, high reward kind of plants.
Basil: This resilient and highly useful herb is the plant I recommend to anyone wanting to grow fresh herbs for the first time. It’s such a happy plant that does well with a lot or a little sunlight (in my experience). You can also use basil in sweet as well as savory dishes, a win-win!
Ever notice how you grow and nurture those little green plants, then clip them at their most aromatic, put them on your kitchen counter…. and then they shrivel up and go bad within hours. No more! We will collectively learn how to take care of our fresh herbs so that they can be enjoyed in any and all foods.
Parsley and cilantro are stalky. I like to cut a bunch, tie in a string, then immediately place in a jar of water, kinda like flowers. I put them in my fridge that way so they can last all week. When I need to grab some, then I just clip off the leaves I want. It’s also good to change the water every 2 days to keep everything fresh.
Basil and mint have a better storage life when I pull off the leaves, pat them dry with a paper towel, then store loosely in an air-tight container in the fridge. Basil wilts within an hour in the lovely Florida humidity, even indoors. Yet when I store it like this, it lasts for several days.
Finally, if you want to freeze your herbs, then treat them just like leafy greens! I’ve got a super easy freezing guide here. Now that you know how to store fresh herbs, let’s get to the recipes!
My fav fresh herbs to grow are mint, basil, lemon balm, chives, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, and sage. They can be grow indoors or outdoors, on a patio, in a raised bed, or in hanging baskets. Start with 1 or 2 that you really enjoy, then expand from there!
I used to buy herbs in those little plastic containers in the produce section of the grocery store. However, I realized that buying a small mint or basil plant cost the same amount AND I had the opportunity to regrow those herbs to last longer. Trader Joe’s has plants right when you walk in the door, or you could check out a local nursery. Next time you buy seeds for your garden, toss in a few herb seed packets and see what you can grow!
Fresh herbs are also loaded with nutrients. Studies show sage helps improve memory + brain function. Peppermint can ease pain from IBS symptoms. Rosemary is used as a decongestant for those suffering from allergies.
I’ve learned that cilantro is a polarizing herb, yet one I hope you use. It’s highly effective in naturally detoxing your body and adds such a fresh, vibrant flavor to any dish. Here’s 5 recipes that use fresh cilantro:
I used to think parsley was useless thanks to all the diners that would decorate the plate with it and a orange wedge. Yet it’s far from the truth— parley has a robust flavor that adds a depth to recipes you can’t get otherwise. Start with a little and build up as you fall more and more in love with it.
If you’re ready to reset your eating patterns and experience better sleep, more energy, losing a few lbs, better focus… then you’re ready for a plant-based whole foods cleanse that incororates lots of fresh herbs.
Plants are designed to provide our bodies with the nutrients we need to thrive. Yet in today’s world, we often miss out on those nutrients through convenient, more processed foods to keep up with our fast pace. 4 times a year I focus specifically on fueling my body with plants. Whole food cleansing helps me reset not just my body, but my mind, sleep, work patterns, and more. I love to seek adventure, and foods helps me fuel my passions.
Choose the season that best fits the availability of your local produce + fresh herbs from Winter, Summer, Spring, or Autumn, then get ready to dive right in to amazing recipes, cleansing smoothies, and snacks you’ll continue to make on a regular basis.
- Cut the stems at least 1/2″
- Remove any leaves that are low on the stem (should look like a bouquet)
- Wrap stems with a string or rubber band
- Place in mason jars with just enough water to submerge the stems (yet not get the leaves wet)
- Store in the fridge to last the longest.
- Clip off the leaves when ready to use.