There’s something really basic about going into the garden, getting close and personal with your plants choosing which young shoots look the best to pick thinking of how much tastier they are going to make that particular meal or drink that you are about to make.
Just imagine those first new potatoes that you might have grown yourself too; they’re boiling away and near the end of cooking you add a knob of butter with a few sprigs of freshly picked garden, spear or apple mint. Any of those herbs can become a condiment by being chopped up with a little vinegar to enhance the taste of those delicious lamb chops or garden peas. You just can’t beat it can you?
There are lots of flavoured mints to make food and drinks interesting, or add flavour to water but many have medicinal purposes too as well as benefiting the garden by just growing them, but keep mint plants in containers if you don’t want them to become invasive. They make good pollen plants for wildlife like bees, and some will deter other insects like flies.
This year I’ve found my chives and welsh onion plants particularly useful, they were only young plants last year, but now that they’ve become bigger clumps they’re tasty ingredients to my omelettes, stir fries and cheese dishes.
This year I will be growing borage again from seed. It can be a big plant of just under three feet, but I kept it tight in the cell tray till it was in bud so was only about six inches tall when I planted it. That way I could have more plants dotted about my plot and within a week after planting they were flowering attracting bees. I didn’t eat them, but if I had chopped the stems and leaves I would have found they have a delicate cucumber flavour making them a good addition to my salads and summer drinks, so I shall add them this year.
Another tasty herb is lovage. The whole plant is useful even its roots. After tasting a raw fresh leaf a few weeks ago I imagined it would go into the hearty stew I was planning and it did. It reminded me of celery with a hint of something else, so I’m pretty sure it will add flavour allsorts of dishes, the seeds are supposed to be good for flavouring homemade bread and biscuits.
So next time you go for that jar of herbs why not try and grow your own in your garden, it makes sense, its more natural, tastier and you’ll know exactly where it came from.