Advantages Taste,variety and uses
Disadvantages None I've discovered
Cooking with herbs has become more and more common lately,almost a new trend in the cookery world.
Whilst herbs have been used for more years than are documented for a variety of uses,from many more rescent years we seem to have ignored their flavours,and benifits.
My own small garden is home to several hundred varieties of herb,and my windowsil is home to few aswell,I use them almost daily and find endless uses for them.
Most supermarkets sell herbs either dried,frozen or fresh.Which ever way you buy them they can be expensive.
Buying frozen herbs - A slightly more flavourful option than dried herbs,but with a slightly shorter shelf life ,and still far less flavour than home dried or fresh herbs.These will set you back anything upto £1.99Buying growing/fresh herbs - Most supermarkets that sell fresh herbs sell them growing in litle pots.As they are growing they will last fairly well,although they are not established plants and usually survive little more than a few weeks.They retain much more flavour,they are force grown usually and the flavour still far less than home grown.You can expect to pay between 70 pence and £1.29 for each plant.
Growing your own - These top class herbs will amaze you with their depth of flavour.They last the whole season and can be used fresh whilst in season then at the end of the season can be dried or frozen to last you through the winter.Dried they will still hold more flavour than force grown fresh herbs.
There are a huge range of mint varieties,but the common mint grows well,almost too well as it can be rampant.Varieties include,applemint,spearmint,pineapple,lemon,basil and common mint.Ideal for use with peas,potatoes,,savoury dishes or just for a good mint sauce to go with your lamb.If you decude to grow mint,always grow it in a contained area.Either in a container sunk into the ground,or in a pot of it's own,and it will come back year after year.
With a warm spicey flavour to it's leaves it makes an ideal accompanyment for tomatoes,pasta or garlic.Again there's a variety of plants available including a fresh,lemon scented one.This herb is one of the more tempremental ones to grow,but in a warm windowsil or a tub in sunny spot in the garden it will thrive.You will usually have to reseed every year.
Not only is this a delicious herb to add to lamb,pork or game it is also a beautiful shrub type herb that can make a decorative addition to any garden.It can grow into a mature and full bush which will flourish every year,or can be contained to a small pot with pruning.
Another essential for boquet garni,this herb lends itself to stews,stocks,pates,pickling or poultry.Again it naturally grows bush like and returns annually.
Fennel can grow very high and is most certainly an outdoor plant,although anywhere outdoors will suit it.The delicate anise flavour is ideal for oily fish dishes,or pork.It's degestive asistance properties make it ideal for any fatty or oily dish
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All these herbs can be grown in the garden or in tubs,and most even in pots on your windowsils.The seeds will set you back about 80 pence from a garden centre ,and will keep you inplants for years.Small seedlings can be picked up for about 50 pence.When it comes towards the end of the season they can all be dried or frozen to last you through the winter.The flavour of dried herbs is actually increased per weight for use in a way that many commercially bought dried herbs don't.You can also use your herbs to make teas by steeping the leaves in hot water,this is an excellent drink with many healthy properties.
There are so many different herbs available and so many ways of using them that I couldn't possiblly include it or them all into one op,so keep tuned for a whole series.I intend "opping" on more specific uses of herbs,and more detailed information on each plant,but for now this is an introduction to the basic herbs.I can heartily recomend their use,not only are they very tastey ,they also hold so many natural healthy properties that they are ideal for those who are health concious.
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