chives growingI know this garden update all about herbs may cause herb envy for some readers who are apartment dwellers or just not gardeners. Other people may wonder what’s the big deal about cooking with fresh herbs. I can hardly remember now when I first started growing herbs and cooking with them, but now I eagerly look forward to summer when I can go outside and get herbs to use in the kitchen. If you’re not currently using fresh herbs in your cooking, check some of the recipe links for each herb type to see how I use my own herbs, and maybe I can inspire you to grow a few pots of something in a windowsill if you don’t have a garden space!

Let’s start with chives shown above, which is something I only started growing about two years ago. Chives taste a bit like a milder form of onion, and you can use them in Asparagus and Fresh Mozzarella Frittata with Parmesan and Chives or Tuscan Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Red Onion, Garlic, Parmesan, and Herbs.

When I tried French Tarragon for the first time, I discovered I adored the slightly licoricey flavor, and now I can’t imagine my herb garden without it. Try using it in Tarragon Mustard Deviled Eggs, Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas, or Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce.

Dill is another flavor that I’m wild about, and this year I moved my dill into the herb beds where it will get more sun so I could enjoy it longer into the season. Three of my favorite recipes using fresh dill are Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Dill, Cucumber and Yogurt Salad with Feta and Dill, and Leftover Salmon Salad with Feta and Dill.

Rosemary is a strong-flavored herb that pairs well with lamb, chicken, or mustard, and there’s no doubt that Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken is one of my favorite ways to use it. Other favorites with rosemary include Artichoke-Rosemary Frittata, Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary, Pecans, and Gorgonzola Cheese, and Onion Gratin with Rosemary and Thyme.

No recipes yet for chervil, but thanks to a gift of seeds from Vanessa from She Craves, I’m growing some this year, and she assures me I’m going to love it. If you have recipe ideas for chervil, I’d love to hear about them.

I love both curly parsley and flat Italian parsley, and I have both in my herb beds. I use flat parsley for Middle Eastern Tomato Salad, Chimichurri Sauce for Steak, or Garlic Roasted Green Beans.

I’d use the curly type for things like Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint, Parsley Hummus, or Garbanzo and Tuna Salad with Parsley and Red Pepper.

Thyme is wonderful in soup, and it’s one of the herbs I love to freeze, but when it’s summer I’ll use it for Grilled Salmon Packets with Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, Thyme, and Saffron or Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic, Thyme, and Balsamic Vinegar.

I haven’t used lemon thyme that much, but my blogging friend Lydia loves it, and she gave me a great suggestion to use it in Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon, Thyme, and Parmesan to up the lemon flavor.

Of course it wouldn’t be summer without fresh basil, another herb I love to freeze, and every year I grow several rows of basil from seed. Basil Vinaigrette for Drizzling on Fresh Tomatoes is one of the reasons I think everyone should grow some basil.

While I’m waiting for my basil seeds, I always have to start the season with a few basil plants for earlier basil. Some of my other basil favorites are Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette, Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese, and Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Fresh Basil.

Vanessa also gave me seeds for lemon basil and lime basil, neither of which I’ve used before. I’d love recipe ideas for those in the comments as well!

Mint must be the easiest herb of all to grow, even if you put it along your fence where it’s often shady, don’t weed it, and let the grape hyacinth take it over at the beginning of the season. I promise, my mint will get weeded soon! Meanwhile, I look forward to using it in Mango Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, Mint, and Chile-Lime Vinaigrette, Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon, and the fabulous recipe I got from Merritt for Cannelini Beans in Mint Marinade.

Greek Oregano seems to be able to survive the winter year after year in Utah, and it came back thriving this year when I had to buy new plants for nearly 2/3 of my herbs. I’ll use this for Greek Salad with Marinated Onions and Oregano or Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans, Feta, and Herbs.

I also have this lovely golden oregano plant hanging out on the edge of the garden with my flowers, but since I have so much Greek oregano, this one doesn’t get clipped nearly as much. The flavor is very similar though, so if you’d like some color with your oregano, go for this one.

Finally, marjoram was an herb I hadn’t used much until my sister Sandee introduced me to Marinated Tomato Salad with Parsley and Marjoram Dressing, which I now look forward to making when I get fresh tomatoes!

I’d actually find it quite impossible to pick my very favorite herb from all my many favorites (unless it was cilantro, which doesn’t grow well at all in Utah, where the summers get so hot and I have to buy my cilantro from the store!) If you do have a favorite herb, I’d love hear in the comments about which one it is and how you most enjoy using it!

See more about my 2010 garden by checking 2010 Garden Updates.

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