Edible Container Gardening

Every spring when I start planting my balcony window boxes and planters I always make one up entirely of fresh herbs. When the weather turns warmer I always crave healthy and fresh food so having readily available seasonings to throw into recipes is a great way to do that.

When I made my first ever herb box I went a little crazy planting over 10 different herbs and crammed them in together. This caused many problems. First I didn’t end up using some of the more uncommon plants and the ones I really enjoyed were not as abundant as I would have liked.

I have now whittled my choices down to five favourites that I plants every year and love to cook with.

parsleyParsley

I prefer the taste of the flat leaf variety to that of the curly or Italian kind. It’s great simply as a colourful garnish or chopped into sauces. It has a very delicate flavour that blends well with most other herbs. I’m not a big fan of cilantro with its stronger more bitter taste so I replace it in most recipes with parsley.
Tabbouleh Recipe

basilBasil

As one of the most popular culinary herbs, this fresh leaf has a sweet, clove-like taste that pairs well with all tomato dishes. Because the taste is so strong it is often paired up with garlic where it holds up well against its pungency. It is used extensively in Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

Classic Pesto Recipe

thyme-3Thyme

This herb is most popular in French cuisine because of its subtle lemony, mint flavour. Commonly used in stuffing and seasoning blends for poultry, thyme also works well with soups and sauces. Use the whole plant including the stems to get the most flavour.

Baked Brie with Apples and Thyme Recipe

oreganoOregano

Oregano is used in most cuisines from Mexican and Spanish to Greek and Italian. It’s robust taste and smell lends well to soups, sauces, stews, vegetables and most meats.

Oregano Chicken Recipe

chivesChives

As a mild member of the onion family chives can be used anytime you want that onion flavour. It is great in potato salads, dips, breads, pastas, egg dishes and sprinkled on top of baked potatoes with sour cream.

Bacon Cheese Chive Muffins Recipe

All of these herbs except chives can be dried and stored for later use. To get the most flavour out of them add the seasonings at the end of your cooking time. Also remember that regular harvesting encourages more growth and a fuller plant.

Gerbera add a touch of colour to my herbs

Gerberas add a touch of colour to my herbs

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