7 Must-Grow Herbs And All The Reasons Why

As I’ve said before, growing your own food is a feel-good thing. It’s a way to connect with the natural world, the rhythm of the seasons, and the nourishment you’re putting into your body. But if, like many people, you’re just looking to dabble in the art of gardening, you should most definitely consider raising a plot of herbs. Why?

Because fresh herbs—preferably just clipped with the morning dew still on them—are so very different from dried herbs. Packed with tender greenness and the most potent version of their herby perfume, these just-picked plants turn simple meals like angel hair with tomato sauce, corn on the cob, or a cold cheese sandwich into something kinda magical.

Because they’re incredibly easy to grow and work wonderfully in containers! Buy a few starts and combine them with good soil inside sturdy terra cotta pots. Or, alternately, sprinkle the soil with seeds if you have a little more patience. Add nothing more than sunshine and water, and voila!

Because buying fresh herbs at the store or farmers market is expensive—and they go bad in a snap. Wouldn’t you rather grab a sprig of dill or cilantro here and there as needed rather than having to buy a whole bunch and use it all at once? Plus, you’ll spend less on an herb start then you would on a package of the same fresh herb—and, once planted in a plot or pot, the start will provide fragrant goodness for weeks and months to come.

Below you’ll find what’s in my herb garden right now, along some of my fave ways to eat them. Enjoy!

Oregano
Add a big handful of chopped oregano to a simple tomato sauce and be instantly transported to a café in Napoli.

Thyme
Snazz up roasted sweet potatoes with chopped garlic, salt, and boatload of thyme.

Basil
Thick slabs of tomato and fresh mozzarella, salt, olive oil, and a grip of basil. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Rosemary
Barbecue corn on the cob inside tinfoil with a sprig of rosemary and butter—so fragrant!

Cilantro
When making a salad, substitute a big handful of cilantro for half of the greens you were about to use—your taste buds will thank you.

Dill
Pile it on a baguette stuffed with gruyere, arugula, and tomato…maybe some Dijon? Dang!

Chives
Scrambled eggs with cheddar and chives. Nuff said. (Don’t forget to sprinkle the flowers on top.)

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