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Fay-Ann Oneka, Latoya Sewell
These books are a life saver, I love this site.
28 January 2021 (04:31)
This book is actually mad nice to flip through if you're into growing herbs and a newbie home cook.
04 May 2021 (11:19)
365 days of self-discipline is an amazing book with proper and clear guidance on how to achieve and master self-awareness and discipline with consistency and persistency.it poses a challenge towards growth and self-improvement
01 December 2021 (12:48)
There some picture of plant blured thats makes me little disapointed, but the information pretty useful thoo
25 January 2022 (20:47)
T H E COOK’S HERB GARDEN G R O W • H A RV E S T • C O O K JEFF COX • MARIE-PIERRE MOINE THE COOK’S HERB GARDEN Jeff Cox & Marie-Pierre Moine London, New York, Melbourne, Munich, and Delhi Editors Helena Caldon, Constance Novis Photographers William Reavell, Peter Anderson, Sarah Ashun Project Editor Andrew Roff US Editors Rebecca Warren, Shannon Beatty Project Designer Will Hicks Designer Elly King Managing Editors Dawn Henderson, Angela Wilkes Managing Art Editor Christine Keilty Senior Jacket Creative Nicola Powling Senior Production Editor Jennifer Murray Senior Production Controller Seyhan Esen Creative Technical Support Sonia Charbonnier First American Edition, 2010 Published in the United States by DK Publishing 375 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 10 11 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 176546—March 2010 Copyright © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited All rights reserved Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-7566-5869-4 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or SpecialSales@dk.com. Color reproduction by Colourscan, Singapore Printed and bound in China by Hing Hung Printing Discover more at www.dk.com DK would like to thank Petersham Nurseries for their beautiful planted pots and baskets. www.petershamnurseries.com CONTENTS 4 In 1 Juct.avn.s C H OOSE 7 '0 I I'IJ t~d Pots ~nd B~slceu Tht Herb Cata log GROW 76 C llm•te So Planning Sol; i Ctowto& ftom Se~d Ctowtog Young Plan<S Propagating Feedang and W'ateung Weed Control lmptovang your Harvest r..u too Du~a~es 84 8(, 88 90 92 94 96 98 ' 104 108 110 II HAR VIlST AND STORR Reoptng the J larvest Sho aL Le t m Storage Faeezang 4 Dtytng CO OK r taon l 28 Flavortogs l)O The Rectp.-s 178 !lerb•l T..-as 186 P11tnor Chuts 190 Index I()~ At l< nowledg me nts 4 INTRODUCTIONS A NOTE FROM THE GARDENER JEFF COX I always think of culinary herbs as the champions of the kitchen garden. Their volatile oils—so attractive in teas and as ﬂavors in our cooking—evolved as compounds plants use to defend themselves from insects and fungi. Both cooks and gardeners therefore beneﬁt from an herb’s aromas, because you don’t need to use environmentally disruptive chemicals to protect them. As I work and live with herbs, I befriend them. The familiar perennials return year after year to greet me with each warming spring; while the new annual acquaintances, which need sowing every year, unfurl from their tiny seeds into replicas of herbs from last year. Every year and throughout the seasons, the herb garden returns this friendship with a feast for all the senses. In my garden, in the mild climate of Sonoma County, California, I grow all the Mediterranean herbs plus mints, borage, summer savory, horseradish, and more. Putting supper together begins with a perusal of the garden to see which herbs are at their best; the other ingredients come next. Almost all of the herbs listed in this book will ﬂower, sprinkling your herb garden with pretty blossoms. Mix and match, contrast and compare—you can make dramatic and attractive arrangements in dedicated herb gardens, dot herbs through beds and borders, or simply keep a few pots outside the backdoor. This regenerating store triumphant, tasty meals. ccupboard cu pb boa o rd d of of ﬂavors ﬂ vo ﬂa vors rs will wil w illl ensure ens en INTRODUCTIONS A NOTE FROM THE COOK MARIE-PIERRE MOINE As a cook, herbs are my best friends. Just a handful brightens up my emergency store cupboard concoctions: dried pasta and canned tomatoes cry out for warming, peppery basil; green beans and ﬂaked tuna for robust parsley and gentle chives; and rice and frozen peas for scented thyme or sage. Half a clove of crushed garlic will not go amiss in any of these impromptu scenarios either. When I am preparing a more gourmet, formal meal, herbs are wonderful allies, too. And they have power in numbers, so I love putting together a palette of mixed herbs—a bed of rosemary sprigs and thyme underneath a shoulder of lamb, a generous scattering of dried fennel and mustard seeds over belly of pork, and tarragon and parsley in a buttery pan of fried tomatoes. At the end of cooking, I add a scattering of fresh herbs to give a ﬂourish of visual appeal and palatetingling top notes. As an urban dweller, I am unable to have a proper herb garden but every year I manage a couple of pots on the windowsill and have never found the need to buy herbs—in the growing months, at least. Running a hand through stems of rosemary or pinching off basil leaves lifts the spirits, but don’t despair if you cannot have fresh herbs permanently on tap; remember that many freeze well. When freezer space is at a premium, herbs should be a priority—a ginger root, a roll of herb butter, or a cilantro ice cube are all well worth their shelf space. 5 CHOOSE With a huge variety of herbs available, you need to know what ﬂavors you want, how you can use them, and where and how to grow the plants. Whether in a window box, a pot, or in the garden, there’s an herb here for everyone. PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS The culinary-themed window boxes show you how to produce a whole store cupboard of ﬂavors in one pot. These are just a guide, and you can mix and match them to suit your needs and personal tastes. KEY: frost hardiness * Half-hardy ** Frost-hardy *** Hardy dimensions ↕ Height ↔ Spread growing conditions a Prefers sun b Prefers partial shade C Prefers shade F Tolerant of wet soil 8 CHOOSE—PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS There are some herbs that you return to time and time again to invigorate your cooking. You can make ordinary everyday meals extraordinary with just a handful of these herbs: perk up a roast chicken with sage, add depth to a tomato salad with basil leaves, enliven pasta sauce with oregano, or make a salsa with cilantro leaves. And, of course, no cook should be without a fresh supply of thyme and parsley. SAGE Salvia ofﬁcinalis The evergreen leaves look good year-round in a container. Pick it regularly to encourage the fresh, young leaves that have the ﬁnest taste. CILANTRO Coriandrum sativum Many of the most aromatic cuisines, particularly Indian and Asian, value this herb. It prefers semi-shade, so putting it on a sheltered window ledge is ideal. GROW Most of these herbs grow best in a 50-50 mix of soil and sand to create a well-drained mix. All can withstand some drought except cilantro and basil, so water regularly and add an occasional feed of liquid fertilizer in summer. Sage Purple basil Oregano Cilantro Thyme Flat-leaf parsley HARVEST Pick sage leaves here and there to keep the plant’s shape, but cut stems from the other herbs as needed. EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS PURPLE BASIL Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens This variety is as attractive as it is ﬂavorsome and really brightens up a container. However, it needs to be re-planted each year. OREGANO Origanum vulgare This herb thrives in containers, and will keep its neat shape with a trim after ﬂowering. Cut back to within 2 in (5 cm) of the soil in winter. FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum Flat-leaf parsley is an excellent garnish for soups, stews, and cooked meats and ﬁsh. Pick leaves regularly to prevent it growing too big. THYME Thymus x citriodorus ‘Silver Queen’ The pretty variegated leaves have a strong lemon scent which, unlike many herbs, does not disappear when cooked. Position in full sun in summer and away from cold winds in winter. Terra-cotta boxes These look sensational, but are pervious. The moisture they absorb, combined with changing temperatures, often causes cracks. Choose frost-proof pots or coat the inside with sealant to protect them. 9 10 CHOOSE—PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS SALAD HERBS Each of these herbs has a distinctive ﬂavor, so they should be used in salads in small amounts—except chervil, where more is better. They will happily grow side by side, and can also be used together in recipes, except dill, whose warm caraway-like ﬂavor tends to dominate. Tarragon is a perennial, but the others are annuals or biennials and so will need replacing every year or two. DILL Anethum graveolens Put in its ﬁnal position when planting this box, as dill doesn’t like to be moved. It pairs well with seafood, making an excellent marinade. ARUGULA Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa The young leaves have a mild, peppery, pungent ﬂavor, which becomes more pronounced with age. Pick leaves regularly to encourage fresh growth. GROW These herbs prefer a rich, well-drained, moist (but not wet) soil. Use a 50–50 mix of good garden soil and compost and water regularly, particularly in hot temperatures. Dill Arugula French tarragon Curly parsley Chives Chervil Pinch off the tips of the herbs to get leaves with full ﬂavor, but allow dill to ﬂower if you are growing it for its seeds. HARVEST Pick arugula’s outer individual leaves but the whole stems of the others. SALAD HERBS FRENCH TARRAGON Artemisia dracunculus French Plant French not Russian tarragon if you want the licorice ﬂavor. Use young plants or grow from cuttings. It is a strong-ﬂavored herb, so use it sparingly. 11 CHIVES Allium schoenoprasum Chives add a delicate onion aroma and ﬂavor to salads and salsas. Cut individual stems 1 in (2.5 cm) above soil level and use snipped into small pieces. CHERVIL Anthriscus cerefolium The sweetest herb, in all respects. Chervil’s dainty leaves have a licorice and parsley ﬂavor. Plant it in a semi-shady position if you can, as sun causes it to ﬂower too quickly. CURLY PARSLEY Petroselinum crispum This neat herb is perfect for growing in containers; it looks pretty and will not take over the space. Chop the leaves ﬁnely and sprinkle over salads. Wooden container Drill holes in the base of the container to allow excess moisture to drain away. Line the container with black plastic before adding soil, to preserve the wood, and puncture holes in the lining to correspond with those in the base. 12 CHOOSE—PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS MEDITERRANEAN POTS These herbs are native to the Mediterranean regions. They thrive in freedraining soil and produce the greatest abundance of fragrant, volatile oils when positioned in full sun in hot, dry summers. Mediterranean cuisine is famed for its fresh tastes, and much of that reputation comes from these herbs. SWEET BASIL Ocimum basilicum ‘Genovese’ Being an annual Mediterranean herb, basil needs sowing under cover each spring, or can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill. THYME Thymus vulgaris The most well-known variety of this evergreen perennial; it is used in poultry, pork, and ﬁsh dishes and in bouquets garnis (see p128). GROW Use free-draining soil, add extra grit to compost if necessary. Plant herbs mixing textures and colors and ensure the pots have some winter use by planting a perennial with each annual. Sweet basil Thyme English lavender Greek oregano Purple basil Sweet basil Rosemary Purple sage Sweet basil Thyme Water if the leaves droop. Pinch out the tips of the basil and oregano for more leafy growth. HARVEST Pick basil leaves individually, trim sage leaves here and there to maintain shape. ROSEMARY Rosmarinus ofﬁcinalis This evergreen perennial form has a strong, piney scent and ﬂavor. It needs regular trimming to keep it in check. MEDITERRANEAN POTS ENGLISH LAVENDER Lavandula angustifolia Use the ﬂowers and evergreen leaves of this perennial sparingly in syrups and sugars. PURPLE SAGE Salvia ofﬁcinalis ‘Purpurascens’ The leaves of this evergreen perennial can be picked all year. SWEET BASIL Ocimum basilicum ‘Green Rufﬂes’ and ‘Napolitano’ These annual basils have a spicy licorice taste. GREEK OREGANO Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum ‘Greek’ This hardy perennial species has dark, aromatic leaves. It is popular in Greek and Turkish dishes. PURPLE BASIL Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens This variety has strongly scented and richly colorful leaves. Terra-cotta pots These develop a ﬁne patina over time. The whitish salt build-up adds character to them. 13 14 CHOOSE—PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS MIDDLE EASTERN Classic dishes from Turkey to Morocco owe their rich, deep ﬂavors to the herb-garden favorites that feature in this zinc container. Traditionally these dishes are accompanied by hot mint tea, which is why this blend of herbs also contains spearmint and another favorite for tea, anise hyssop. CILANTRO Coriandrum sativum As a warmth-loving herb, cilantro thrives in pots that can be moved to sunny spots. Trim regularly to encourage leaves, or leave it alone if you want seeds. GROW All these herbs like well-drained, good-quality potting soil, so add extra grit if necessary. Let cilantro ﬂower if you want its seeds. Pinch the growing tip of anise hyssop when young for tender leafy shoots. Water when the soil begins to dry out. Anise hyssop Spearmint Flat-leaf parsley Cilantro Thyme HARVEST Select individual stems or side branches, or take leaves from here and there. MIDDLE EASTERN 15 ANISE HYSSOP Agastache foeniculum This herb has a distinct licorice ﬂavor in its pretty leaves. It needs protection in hard frosts. SPEARMINT Mentha spicata Spearmint is the most widely grown of all mints. It makes refreshing teas and, in the Middle East, is a key ingredient in tabbouleh (see p152). FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum To ensure a constant supply, sow seed in pots at regular intervals from spring and transfer to the main pot as necessary. THYME Thymus vulgaris The piney, resinous aroma and ﬂavor of thyme is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. It is used in lamb tagines and many other dishes. Zinc container Make a few holes to let excess water drain out and put stones in the base of the pot to aid drainage. Only the mint can tolerate wet roots. 16 CHOOSE—PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS HARDY HERBS With the exception of rosemary, which needs a winter mulch in some areas, these herbs will survive temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C) and return in spring. Provide enough room for their roots, as they can grow for years. GREEK OREGANO Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum ‘Greek’ A more intense version of common oregano, with round, dark green, resinous, peppery leaves. ORANGE-SCENTED THYME Thymus x citriodorus ‘Fragrantissimus’ This variety has evergreen variegated leaves with a distinct citrussy scent. Pick the leaves year-round. GROW Plant in decent well-drained garden soil with added compost. Remove the top 2 in (5 cm) of soil in spring and replace with fresh compost. Greek oregano Orange-scented thyme Roman Rosemary chamomile Sage Sorrel Winter savory HARVEST Cut stems or individual leaves for sorrel and pick chamomile’s ﬂowers just as they form buds. HARDY HERBS ROMAN CHAMOMILE Chamaemelum nobile This is the hardy perennial variety, rather than the German annual. Use the ﬂower buds in teas, or let them open to create a pretty feature here. SORREL Rumex acetosa Sorrel is a tangy, sharply acidic, leafy plant. Remove any ﬂower heads as they appear to keep fresh, new leaves coming. ROSEMARY Rosmarinus ofﬁcinalis The resinous quality of this herb recalls pine and camphor. It is good with potatoes, lamb, and in oils. WINTER SAVORY Satureja montana This semi-evergreen perennial needs winter protection. Use this potent herb in small amounts. SAGE Salvia ofﬁcinalis The leaves can be used in sauces (see p164), with poultry (see p139), or in butter for pasta, Italian-style. They can also be used fresh to make a soothing tea. Wooden crate This is roomy enough for these vigorous herbs, but if they get too big, lift and divide them when growth is slow, in fall or early spring (see p91). Pot on the new extra plants and return one to the crate. 17 18 CHOOSE—PLANTED POTS AND BASKETS HERBAL TEAS The most elegant and ﬂavorsome teas are made using fresh herbs, as the ﬁne fragrance and ﬂavor compounds in their leaves evaporate and disintegrate soon after they’re picked. This group includes herbs that can be used to make teas to suit all palates and moods. LEMON BALM Melissa ofﬁcinalis Use young leaves for a mild lemon-and-mint ﬂavor. Self-sows readily, so root out unwanted seedlings. BERGAMOT Monarda didyma Bergamot makes an excellent herb tea. Dig up plants every three years and divide them. SWEET WOODRUFF Galium odoratum Use sparingly—you need only a stem or two for a mild, vanilla-ﬂavored tea. Plant under the other herbs, as it likes some shade. GROW Use potting mix or well-drained garden soil. These plants like moist soil, so tuck dried grass clippings around the base of the stems to conserve moisture. Pinch back the lemon verbena and trim the fennel. HARVEST Cut just a couple of stems of sweet woodruff and take leaves here and there from the other herbs. Lemon balm Bronze fennel Bergamot Sweet woodruff Lemon verbena Moroccan mint German chamomile Sweet marjoram HERBAL TEAS BRONZE FENNEL Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ With its licorice ﬂavor, this fennel makes a mild tea. Trim the tops for leafy growth. LEMON VERBENA Aloysia triphylla With its fragrance and ﬂavor of lemon but without the acid zing, lemon verbena is ideal for tea. Cut back stems once the leaves have dropped. MOROCCAN MINT Mentha spicata var. crispa ‘Moroccan’ This variety has a fresh spearmint ﬂavor. It is widely drunk as a tea in North Africa. Sink it into the box in a small pot to control its growth. SWEET MARJORAM Origanum majorana Sweet marjoram is less assertive than oregano and so makes a sweet, lightly spicy tea with a mild camphor note. An annual, it needs re-sowing each year. GERMAN CHAMOMILE Matricaria recutita This annual chamomile is much preferred for tea over the perennial Roman chamomile, which has a bitter taste. Again, it needs re-sowing each year. Wicker basket Weaved wicker gives this arrangement a rustic feel. Position it in a sunny spot in summer and move it to a sheltered position as the plants die back in fall and winter. 19 20 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G T H E H E R B C ATA L O G What is an herb? A plant needs certain qualities to be an herb; here you will ﬁnd plants that can simply be used to add ﬂavor to your cooking and can be grown in temperate climates. In different cuisines these plants are used in a variety of ways. The leaves, ﬂowers, seeds, or roots are often edible; in some cases leaves and stems are used as “pot herbs”, meaning they are boiled and served as a vegetable. ONION Allium spp. These members of the large onion family are useful culinary herbs as well as kitchen staples. They are drought-resistant, and, because they are onions, they rarely have pest problems. grow For all these allium species, sweeten good garden soil with wood ash or ground limestone before planting sets or sowing seed, for best results. Ideally, plant garlic in fall, but you can also plant it in spring along with onions and chives. harvest Dig up bulbils in summer to use or store (see p118) and pick leaves and ﬂowers throughout the growing season as they are needed. cook Both garlic and onion bulbils can be used in a wide range of savory dishes as a ﬂavoring. They keep their ﬂavor well when cooked. Leaves of all the allium species are best used raw. GARLIC . Allium sativum *** a Plant bulbils in good soil in full sun in fall. Dig up the heads when the tops are dry. HABIT Hollow stalks ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔ 9–12 in (23–30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Add to sauces, stews, butters, oils, and many other dishes. Green-stemmed garlic is known as green garlic. It is not fully mature and so has a milder taste u CHIVES Allium schoenoprasum *** a The bulbs multiply in good soil, so grow chives in a pot to control them. Pick leaves and ﬂowers a few at a time as needed. HABIT Slim hollow stalks ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use leaves and ﬂowers whole or snipped as a garnish or to ﬂavor eggs, salads, and soured cream. ONION , ROCAMBOLE Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon *** a Plant bulbils in fall in good garden soil. Cut the leaves in spring, dig up the purple and white bulbils in the fall. It has a mild garlic ﬂavor. HABIT Hollow stalks ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔ 9–12 in (23–30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use the leaves as you would chives and the bulbils as you would garlic. The broad leaves have a strong garlicky aroma WILD GARLIC . Allium ursinum *** bc Young leaves have a sweeter garlic ﬂavor Sow this perennial direct into the garden in moist soil in semi-shade or shade in fall. Divide established plants in late summer. All parts can be eaten; pick leaves and ﬂowers as needed, bulbils in fall. HABIT Hollow stalks ↕ 14–18 in (36–45 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Add leaves and ﬂowers to salads, or to garnish potato or egg dishes. Use bulbils in soups, cream sauces, and in risotto. The leaves of green onion are round and hollow GARLIC CHIVES . Allium tuberosum *** a Plant in spring in good soil. Divide clumps every three years. Cut a few stems as needed. HABIT Flat-bladed stalks ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 6–8 in (15–20 cm) COOK’S NOTES Add to potato salads. GREEN ONION . Allium fistulosum *** a Plant sets or sow seed in spring. Divide clumps every 3 years in spring. Harvest the oniony bulbs 5–6 weeks after planting. HABIT Hollow stalks ↕ 8–10 in (20–25 cm) ↔ 6 in (15 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use in egg dishes, quiches, and savory tarts. 21 22 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G ANISE HYSSOP Agastache foeniculum This relative of mint has minty, licorice-ﬂavored leaves and ﬂowers. It is a perennial, and bees love its pretty purple ﬂower spikes in summer. The small top leaves make the ﬁnest tea **ab grow Take cuttings or divide plants in spring, or start seed indoors in late winter. Plant out seedlings into good garden soil when all risk of frost has passed. This plant is happiest in full sun and rich, moist soil, but tolerates partial shade. harvest The leaves have the best ﬂavor just before the plant ﬂowers. cook Add the leaves and ﬂowers to salads for a mild minty licorice ﬂavor, or brew them as a tea. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) LEMON VERBENA Aloysia triphylla The leaves of perennial lemon verbena grow vigorously on long stems, but they keep their lemony scent to themselves until disturbed. **a grow Plant cuttings in the garden, after all danger of frost has passed, into well-drained, dry soil in full sun. A tender herb, it is best to plant it in a large pot sunk into the ground so it can be moved indoors in fall in cold regions. In warmer, frost-free areas you can leave it outside over winter. harvest Leaves can be harvested here and there from the plant and used fresh. cook Brew the leaves for citrussy tisanes, use them to make lemony vinegars and oils, or ﬁnely chop them and add to salads and fruit desserts. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 10 ft (3 m) ↔10 ft (3 m)) AMARANTH AMARANTH Amaranthus hypochondriacus This annual is a global favorite, with spinachﬂavored leaves and seeds that contain 30 percent more high-lysine protein than most cereals. *a grow Sow seed directly into the garden each spring. This herb grows in full sun in almost any kind of soil. Grain amaranth can yield up to 2.2 lb (1 kg) of grain per plant, so you may need to stake the plants to support their seedheads. harvest Pick leaves as needed, and cut the seedheads with their stems for drying and to collect their seeds (see p116). cook Add young leaves to salads and cook mature leaves as you would spinach. Cook seeds in a little water, or in a dry pan to eat as “popcorn”. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) ↔ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) Seeds can be cooked with three parts water to make a “porridge” DILL Anethum graveolens The umbrella-shaped seedheads of this annual bear seeds that are popular for pickling, and the feathery leaves are an excellent ﬂavoring. ***a grow Dill is easy to grow from seed; sow in mid-spring in a sunny spot in good, well-drained garden soil where you want it to grow, as it resents disturbance. Position it near plants that will beneﬁt from the insects it attracts. Make successive sowings throughout the summer to keep the crop coming. harvest Use the leaves fresh or dried. Let the seed ripen on the plant before harvesting it (see p106). cook Use the seeds in vinegars and teas. Use fresh or dried fronds with salads, and soups; dill goes well with ﬁsh, especially salmon, and is a key ingredient in gravlax. HABIT Upright hollow stems ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 6–12 in (15–30 cm) 23 24 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G ANGELICA Angelica archangelica The leaves and stems of this pretty biennial have an aroma of juniper berries, hence its use in making gin. The seeds and root are edible too. ***b grow Sow seed in fall or spring in semi-shade in a moist, compost-enriched soil where you want it to grow, as its long tap root (the main, largest, vertical root) will not transplant. Water it well in summer, as it dislikes hot, dry conditions. Allow it to set seed in late summer if you want to collect seed or let it self-seed. It will die after setting seed. harvest Take leaves here and there or cut off side shoots before the plant ﬂowers. Collect seeds as they ripen (see p106). Harvest and dry roots in the second fall just after ﬂowering. cook Seeds add a touch of sweetness to drinks; use leaves in custards, marmalades, fruit desserts, and teas; or make candied angelica to decorate cakes. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 9–12 in (23–30 cm) C H E RV I L Anthriscus cerefolium This annual herb is one of the culinary ﬁnes herbes, along with chives, parsley, and tarragon. Its lacy leaves have a light licorice ﬂavor. ***b grow Sow seed in moist, compost-enriched soil in a cool, semi-shady spot each spring as temperatures begin to rise. Sow where you want it to grow, as it has a large tap root and dislikes being transplanted. Keep an eye on this plant in summer, as it quickly runs to seed in hot, sunny conditions. harvest Pick leaves from here and there over the plant. Chervil loses ﬂavor when dried, so use the leaves fresh. cook The subtle licorice ﬂavor is fragile, so add the leaves fresh at the last minute to salads and to ﬁnish creamy poultry dishes. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 10 ft (3 m) ↔ 10 ft (3 m) SMALLAGE SMALLAGE Apium graveolens The seeds and leaves of this biennial, wild form of celery have a more intense celery ﬂavor and aroma than the related, large, modern stalks. ***Fa grow Sow seed in early spring under cover. Plant out seedlings in full sun in rich soil in the bottom of a shallow trench in the garden, when all risk of frost has passed. Keep the soil well-watered in summer. Let the plant produce its ﬂower heads and set seed if you want to harvest the seeds. harvest Cut individual stalks or the whole plant as and when needed. Harvest the seeds when they are ripe and falling from the seedheads (see p106). cook Use fresh leaves in salads and sauces, and The leaves add the seeds to stews and casseroles. resemble those of its cousin, parsley HABIT Tall, slender stems ↕ 1–3 ft (30 cm–1 m) ↔ 6–12 in (15–30 cm) HORSERADISH Armoracia rusticana Originally considered a medicinal herb, this perennial is now grown as a culinary herb for its strongly ﬂavored large tap root and leaves. ***a grow Horseradish can be invasive, so plant cuttings or divisions in a large pot sunk into the soil. You need space; the large, wavy-edged leaves spread 2–3 ft² (60–90 cm²). Choose a sunny spot in sandy, well-drained loam. Enrich with compost in fall and late spring. harvest Dig up the plant to take pieces of root as needed—the herb is most pungent when freshly dug. Harvest and store all roots in fall (see p107). cook The freshly grated root works wonders mixed with cream to make a sauce, and served with beef or smoked ﬁsh. HABIT Upright, clump-forming ↕ 1–4 ft (30 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) Young leaves can be added to salads The real ﬂavor is in the root 25 26 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G F R E N C H TA R R A G O N Artemisia dracunculus French The ﬂavor of perennial French tarragon is much superior to that of the Russian variety, so cooks prefer to use its licorice-ﬂavored leaves. ***a grow This herb doesn’t set viable seed, so it must be propagated by root cuttings taken after the ﬁrst frosts are over (see p90). Plant them out in a warm, dry, sunny spot. Renew old plants by dividing clumps in spring. harvest Pick sprigs of leaves when needed to use fresh. Tarragon freezes well but loses much of its ﬂavor when dried. cook Use fresh in omelets, salads, chicken dishes, and in cream sauces, or to ﬂavor white wine vinegar (see p135). HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 18–36 in (45 cm–1 m) ↔ 12–15 in (30–38 cm) BORAGE Borago officinalis An herb-garden favorite, this annual is cherished more for its sky-blue petals than its leaves, both of which have a cucumber ﬂavor. ***a grow Sow seed directly in the garden in mid-spring in well-drained, light soil in a sunny spot. Keep the soil moist during the growing season. harvest Cut young stems for fresh leaves throughout the summer, and pick ﬂowers to use fresh, or to freeze or dry. cook Chop the fresh leaves to add to yogurt, cream, and cucumber salads. Use ﬂowers in drinks such as Pimm’s, in ice cubes, salads, or candied to decorate cakes. HABIT Upright, branching ↕ 1–3 ft (30 cm–1 m) ↔ 6–12 in (15–30 cm) The hairs on young leaves dissolve in the mouth on eating M U S TA R D S M U S TA R D S Brassica spp. Grow these annual plants for their peppery leaves and for their seeds, which are used to make the familiar condiment. Black mustard is the most pungent, India is the bitterest. ***a grow Sow seed in fall in soil enriched with well-rotted manure or compost. The seedlings will emerge in the spring. Alternatively, sow in spring once all risk of frost has passed. Each seed makes a single stem with many ﬂowers, so sow thickly to allow the stems to support one another. harvest Cut the stems with their seed pods just before the seeds ripen and let them dry (see p116). Pick young leaves and ﬂowers all summer. cook Add both the leaves and ﬂowers to salads and stir-fry dishes. Crush the seeds for homemade mustard, or add to salad dressings or sauces. The young seed pods can be pickled , I N D I A M U S TA R D Brassica juncea The crinkled-edged leaves have a warm peppery ﬂavor and look pretty in the garden. The seeds are slightly bitter and are less potent than the black ones. HABIT Upright, clump-forming ↕ 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) The ﬂowers are also edible, with a mild mustard ﬂavor B L A C K M U S TA R D . Brassica nigra Black mustard is harder to ﬁnd than India, so it is worth growing your own. The leaves and seeds have a strong ﬂavor and heat. HABIT Upright, clump-forming ↕ 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) 27 28 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G CALAMINT Calamintha sp. It is strange that this pretty perennial herb isn’t better known for its pleasant minty, peppery, but slightly bitter leaves and ﬂowers. ***ab grow Start cuttings in pots in early spring, or sow directly into well-drained soil once it has warmed up. Or divide plants in spring. It prefers a slightly alkaline soil, so sweeten acid soil with wood ash or ground limestone. New growth needs protection from severe frosts. harvest Pick leaves when the plant is not in ﬂower for the best ﬂavor. Harvest ﬂowers as and when needed. cook Use to ﬂavor drinks, ﬁnely chop very young leaves and use in salads. Lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta) has the strongest potency, so use it sparingly. All parts of the plant have a delicious aroma of mint HABIT Low-growing, bushy ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔ 20–30 in (50–75 cm) POT MARIGOLD Calendula officinalis This annual was once known as poor man’s saffron because the sweet, edible, yellow or orange ﬂowers are used to dye foods. ***ab grow Sow seed in pots indoors in fall or in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade after the last frosts in spring. Transplant into pots or good garden soil in late spring. Marigold is hardy and will overwinter outside in warm climates. The plant produces a small bunch of leaves from which tall daisy-like ﬂowers rise. If growing it in the garden, thin out plants to keep them 12–18 in (30–45 cm) apart. harvest Pick ﬂowers regularly when they are young and fresh. cook You can use the aromatic, slightly bitter petals to decorate salads, or add them to ﬁsh and meat stews. HABIT Bushy, leafy ↕ 20–28 in (50–70 cm) ↔ 20–28 in (50–70 cm) Pick the ﬂowers regularly to encourage more blooms CHILE PEPPERS CHILE PEPPERS Capsicum spp. There are hundreds of chile pepper varieties available, but listed here are a few of the most popular ones. The plants are perennials in the tropics and annuals in temperate zones. , SERRANO Capsicum annuum The green peppers ripen to red and have very hot, pungent seeds. HABIT Bushy ↕ Varies, mostly 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 20–36 in (50–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use in sauces. *a grow Sow seed in pots and plant out young plants in rich soil in a sunny position when risk of frost has passed. Mulch the plants and keep the mulch moist to recreate the hot, humid conditions they like. harvest Pepper fruits can range from pea-sized to large cylinders or blocky types. Young peppers are green but ripen to red, yellow, orange, chocolate brown, and other colors. Cut the stems of fruits with scissors when harvesting. cook Handle them carefully, scrape out the seeds to lessen their heat, or leave them in for a hotter sensation and the inimitable chile pepper ﬂavor (see p126). They can be used fresh, dried, in ﬂakes, or ground to spice up many recipes. BIRD PEPPER . Capsicum annuum These tiny peppers can be red, orange, or green; their size is deceptive, as they are very, very hot. HABIT Bushy ↕ Varies, mostly 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 20–36 in (50–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use whole to add heat to curries. JALAPEÑO . Capsicum annuum A commonly used pepper; when green they are medium-hot, and when ripe and red they are less hot and sweeter. HABIT Bushy ↕ Varies, mostly 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 20–36 in (50–90cm) COOK’S NOTES Pickle or use as a condiment. SCOTCH BONNET . Capsicum chinense These are one of the hottest peppers on earth. They start yellow-green and ripen to orange-red. HABIT Bushy ↕ Varies, mostly 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 20–36 in (50–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use to ﬂavor Caribbean sauces. Scotch Bonnet’s lantern-shaped fruits are incredibly hot 29 30 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G CAPER BUSH Capparis spinosa Although a tender native of Mediterranean climates, this evergreen shrub will tolerate warm winters elsewhere, and produces tasty buds. **a grow Sow seed indoors in early spring or take cuttings. Plant out when risk of frost has passed. It needs good drainage and dry soil. Flower buds are borne on new stems each year, so cut back plants each fall. Plants raised from seed will not ﬂower for four or ﬁve years. harvest Pick ﬂower buds for pickling before they open. cook Use the salted or pickled buds in oil- or butter-based sauces, and dressings with ﬁsh and cold meats. Caper bush’s pretty white ﬂowers are very ornamental HABIT Shrubby ↕ 3 ft (1 m) ↔ 5 ft (1.5 m) C A R A W AY Carum carvi The leaves and seeds of this aromatic, parsleychervil ﬂavored biennial are often considered spices, but the root can be used as a pot herb. ***a grow Sow seed outdoors in mid-spring in good, well-drained soil in full sun. Once established caraway needs no supplementary feeding, but keep it free of competition from weeds. harvest Gather young leaves as and when required. Cut stems for drying when the seed begins to separate easily from the plant. Dig up plants for the roots in the fall of their second year. cook Use young leaves in salads or soups. Add the seeds to cakes, breads, cookies, cabbage, cheese dishes, and meat stews. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 3 ft (1 m) ↔ 12–15 in (30–38 cm) Young leaves are less pungent than the seeds CHAMOMILE CHAMOMILE Chamaemelum nobile and Matricaria recutita Perennial Roman chamomile makes a pretty lawn and releases a warm apple scent when walked over. The leaves of annual German chamomile are used to make a soothing tea. ***a grow Sow seeds of Roman and German chamomiles under cover in spring. Plant out in well-drained, sandy soil in full sun when all risk of frost has passed. For a lawn, plant close together and cut regularly to encourage dense growth. harvest Cut leaves in spring and early summer; pick ﬂowers when fully open, in midsummer. cook Use the ﬂowers and leaves fresh or dried to make tea; the leaves make a milder brew. The conical centers of the ﬂowers are dried to use in making tea GERMAN CHAMOMILE . Matricaria recutita Plant out seedlings of this annual, ﬂowery ﬂavored chamomile when they have no more than three true leaves, as they then resent transplanting. Self-sows readily. HABIT Upright, branching leaves ↕ 24–30 in (60–75 cm) ↔ 2 ft (60 cm) uROMAN CHAMOMILE Chamaemelum nobile The perennial chamomile has sweet, aromatic, evergreen, lacy foliage with tiny daisy-like ﬂowers. Clip the ﬂowers in the ﬁrst year and weed around the plant often. HABIT Low-growing, mat-forming ↕ 6–9 in (15–22 cm) ↔ indeﬁnite 31 32 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G G O O D K I N G H E N RY / FAT H E N Chenopodium spp. The leaves of Good King Henry have a licorice ﬂavor while those of Fat Hen have a spinachlike taste. Both are very nutritious, being rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins B1 and C. **a grow Easily grown in spring from seed sown in well-drained freshly dug soil, or from divisions. These plants are tough survivors and take care of themselves. They like full sun and may need water during droughts. harvest Cut young stems to use like asparagus. Pick young leaves as needed, or harvest larger leaves in summer for cooking. cook Use both varieties as a pot herb or eat the young leaves raw in salads. G O O D K I N G H E N RY Chenopodium bonus-henricus This perennial herb resents transplanting, but grows like a weed when established, so you will need to control it. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) COOK’S NOTES It has an assertive ﬂavor, so use its slightly bitter, lemony leaves sparingly either fresh or dried when cooking beans and pulses. FAT H E N Chenopodium album As a fast-growing annual, Fat Hen will sow itself at will. Remove seedlings if you want to keep it under control. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 1–6 ft (30 cm–1.8 m) ↔ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use the leaves in mixed green vegetable dishes or in soups; chop ﬁnely to add sparingly to salads. The leaves are shaped like the imprint of a goose foot Wash leaves carefully to remove any grit CHICORY C H I C O RY Cichorium intybus There are many types of this herb, and their leaves, stems, and ﬂowers are used in cuisines around the world. ***a grow Sow seed directly into the garden in mid-spring. Cultivated varieties like rich, deep, and well-drained soil to make large tap roots. Give the plants a mid-summer dressing of rich compost. Keep the soil moist but not wet. harvest Cut leaves for salads when very young to use fresh, as older plants develop a bitter, milky sap. Pick ﬂowers in early summer to use fresh or to dry. Dig up roots throughout the summer, or in fall. cook Add young leaves and ﬂowers to salads; lift young roots and boil and serve with a white sauce. The bitter taste of the leaves mellows when grilled or roasted RADICCHIO . Cichorium intybus Cut the bitter, colorful leaves of this annual here and there in mid-summer, then let the plant grow on undisturbed to produce tight heads for fall. HABIT Upright, tight head of leaves ↕ 6–8 in (15–20 cm) ↔ 8–10 in (20–25 cm) COOK’S NOTES Add the leaves to salads, chargrill with olive oil, or roast, or stew. BELGIAN ENDIVE . Cichorium intybus Keep the tall leaves of this perennial pale for a less bitter ﬂavor. Pot up the plants in early winter and put them in a dark place indoors for 4–6 weeks to “force” chicons, which are blanched stems. HABIT Upright, tight head of leaves ↕ 24 in (60 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use leaves in winter salads with walnuts and a creamy dressing, sprinkle chicons with lemon juice and steam, or bake with cheese and ham. u L O O S E L E A F C H I C O RY Cichorium intybus ‘Roseum’ Sow seed of this mild-tasting annual in spring for a winter crop. This variety has pink ﬂowers, but most have blue ﬂowers. HABIT Upright ↕ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) ↔ 8–10 in (20–25 cm) COOK’S NOTES Dry roots, then roast and grind them to use as a substitute for coffee; young leaves make a good salad. 33 34 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G BALM OF GILEAD Cedronella canariensis This perennial is usually grown as an annual. It has a musky scent that is used in potpourris. The bitter leaves can be brewed for tea. *a grow Sow seed under cover in a sunny spot and plant out when all danger of frost is past. It needs good drainage but plenty of moisture during the growing season. The plant ﬂowers late in the season. harvest Pick leaves before the plant ﬂowers for the best ﬂavor; they can be used fresh or dried. cook Add the leaves to tea blends. HABIT Upright, shrubby ↕ 5 ft (1.5 m) ↔ 3 ft (1 m) The leaves have a strong eucalyptus scent E D I B L E C H RY S A N T H E M U M Chrysanthemum coronarium The bitter leaves and ﬂowers of this annual are widely used as a ﬂavoring in cooking in Asia, especially in China and Japan. ***a grow Sow seed in spring, in moist soil in full sun. Water frequently. harvest Take leaves here and there all summer. Pick ﬂowers as they appear to use fresh, let some ﬂowers dry on the stem and crumble them to store. cook Add petals to salads, or blanch ﬂower heads for one minute and serve with a savory sauce. Use young leaves and stems in stir-fries, stews, and soups. HABIT Upright, branching ↕ 36 in (90 cm) ↔ 16 in (40 cm) Petals, or the entire ﬂower head, can be used in cooking CILANTRO CILANTRO Coriandrum sativum The leaves of this annual herb have a slightly pungent citrussy ﬂavor, while the seeds have a sweet, warm, woody fragrance. ***a grow Sow seed in rich, moist soil in a protected sunny spot. If you want seeds as well as leaves, do not deadhead the ﬂowers, and leave the seeds to ripen from green to light brown in color. harvest Pick leaves all summer. Pick seedheads and dry fully before storing the seeds. cook Use fresh chopped leaves in salads, with coconut, citrus, avocado, ﬁsh, and meat. The dried seeds are spicy, sweet, and mildly orange-ﬂavored— use them in curries and Asian dishes. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 6–28 in (15–70 cm) ↔ 4–12 in (10–30 cm) Cilantro leaves look similar to those of ﬂat-leaf parsley CUMIN Cuminum cyminum An ancient annual herb, today it is grown and used worldwide. The seeds of this delicate plant have a rich earthy ﬂavor, so use them sparingly. *a grow Sow seed in good, moist soil in full sun. Keep the plants well watered as drought can prevent them setting seed. Cumin is a ﬂoppy, thin-stemmed plant that grows best when draped over a support frame of chicken wire. harvest Pick leaves as needed. When the plant browns and the seeds are dry, cut the stems and hang them to dry completely. Collect the seeds as they are released (see p116). cook Use the leaves in salads and spicy dishes. Once ground, dried seeds are pungent, sharp, and indispensable in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Cumin is often used with cilantro and chickpeas. HABIT Slender, upright ↕ 6–12 in (15–30 cm) ↔ 3–4 in (8–10 cm) The delicate, ﬂoppy stems need some support in summer 35 36 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G CITRUS Citrus spp. Even in cold areas you can have a taste of the Mediterranean. These four perennial citrus plants will thrive on the patio in summer and indoors in winter. Their zest and juices add a tart ﬂavor to both sweet and savory dishes. *a grow Plant woody shrubs or trees in generous pots of rich, sandy, well-drained soil that can be moved to a bright place indoors when the freezing weather arrives. Buy young plants at the nursery that are on dwarﬁng rootstock. Keep them in full sun and water regularly, but give them a steady supply of nitrogen by watering with liquid fertilizer. Root prune and re-pot them after 4–5 years. harvest Citrus fruits store well on the tree; pick as needed. cook Use dried peel to ﬂavor stews, desserts, and sweet sauces. Add candied peel to cakes. K U M Q U AT . Fortunella japonica This compact plant produces small, slightly bitter, oval, orange fruits. Plant the superior-ﬂavored variety Fortunella crassifolia ‘Meiwa’ if you can ﬁnd it. HABIT Medium-sized, bushy shrub ↕ 6–15 ft (1.8–4.5 m) ↔ 10–12 ft (3–3.6 m) COOK’S NOTES Stew the yellow to red-orange fruits in Middle Eastern savory dishes, such as tagines. ORANGE u Citrus sinensis The ﬂowers and, of course, the fruits have a strong orange aroma. Some varieties can be tart or bitter. Navel oranges have the best ﬂavor; they are seedless with a navel-like formation at one end. HABIT Upright tree ↕ 15–20 ft (4.5–6.1 m) ↔ 12–15 ft (3.6–4.5 m) COOK’S NOTES Use ﬂowers in teas and tisanes, and the zest and juice of the fruit in stews, with duck, and in desserts. The fruits produce an aromatic rind as well as juice and ﬂesh that can be used in sweet and savory dishes CITRUS LIME . Citrus aurantiifolia This small tree produces round green fruits with a pleasantly sour taste in late summer. Bearss lime (Citrus x latifolia) is a good variety. The leaves of the kafﬁr lime (Citrus hystrix) are used in Thai cooking. HABIT Open structure ↕ 10–15 ft (3–5 m) ↔ 6–10 ft (2–3 m) COOK’S NOTES Limes go well with herbs and spices such as ginger, cilantro, parsley, dill, and fenugreek. Add to chicken, ﬁsh, and lamb dishes. Fruits have a zingy zest but slightly sour, sharp-tasting ﬂesh LEMON . Citrus limon These are popular pot plants, which bear white, highly scented ﬂowers and yellow, sharp-tasting fruits. A reliable, easy-to-grow and compact variety is ‘Meyer Lemon’, which will ﬂower all year. HABIT Medium-sized shrub ↕ 4–6 ft (1.2–1.8 m) in a generous pot ↔ 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) COOK’S NOTES The juice is good in salad dressings and desserts. The fruit can be used fresh or preserved, with roast poultry, in vegetable dishes, or with ﬁsh or grilled meats. Preserve whole lemons in salt and use the rind in stews and tagines 37 38 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G LEMONGRASS Cymbopogon citratus This tropical, evergreen, perennial grass contains the same volatile oil as lemon rind, and so the stems impart a fresh, clean, citrussy ﬂavor. *a grow Sow seed in pots indoors in spring or divide established plants. Plant young plants outdoors in a sunny spot in good, moist soil. In temperate climates, grow in a generous pot. Lemongrass copes well outdoors during the summer, but take it indoors for the cold months. harvest Cut the fresh leaves and lower stems of single stalks as needed. cook Fresh stems and leaves add a distinctive ﬂavor to Thai curries and South East Asian dishes, such as salads, spring rolls, and ﬁsh dishes. The stems and bases can be stored, whole, in a plastic bag in the fridge or frozen HABIT Clump-forming, with cane-like stems ↕ 4 ft (1.2 m) ↔ 3 ft (1 m) MEADOWSWEET Filipendula ulmaria Dense panicles of fragrant white ﬂowers earn this perennial herb a place in ornamental gardens. The ﬂowers and leaves are cucumber ﬂavored. ***Fb grow Sow seed indoors in late winter for setting out in mid-spring, or divide established plants in fall. Meadowsweet is a marsh plant that needs a constantly wet, neutral to slightly alkaline soil and semi-shade. Avoid the cultivar ‘Plena’, as it is prone to mildew. harvest You can pick ﬂowers throughout the summer but take the leaves in mid-summer only. cook Traditionally used to make beer, the fresh ﬂowers and crushed leaves also add a delicate, mild ﬂavor to jams, stews, and drinks. HABIT Clump-forming ↕ 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) Pick ﬂowers just as they open and use fresh or dry ARUGULA ARUGULA Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa The arugula family includes many different varieties; most are edible herbs, but some are preferred for fragrance. Here are a few good culinary types. **ab grow Sow seed in early spring in pots or directly in well-drained soil. Water well during the growing season. Arugula runs to seed quickly; don’t let plants ﬂower unless you want them to self-seed. Be warned, slugs and snails also love to eat the leaves. harvest The leaves are ready before the hot weather arrives. Pick a few at a time, and leave the others to grow on. cook Add raw, whole leaves to salads. Use the leaves when young, as they become bitter with age. Fragrant ﬂower heads make this a welcome addition to the garden SWEET ARUGULA . Hesperis matronalis This biennial herb is grown for its fragrant ﬂower heads, which, like its bitter leaves, are also edible. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use leaves and ﬂowers in salads. , WILD ARUGULA Diplotaxis muralis This annual enjoys any good soil. The dandelion-like leaves have a bitter, peppery ﬂavor. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ 10–12 in (25–30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use sparingly in mixed leaf salads, chop and add to soups and cooked dishes, or pair with chickpeas. ARUGULA . Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa This annual tolerates dappled shade as well as full sun. Keep soil moist. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 6–10 in (15–25 cm) ↔ 8–12 in (20–30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use young leaves in salads, or cook as you would spinach. 39 40 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G FENNEL Foeniculum vulgare Do not confuse this perennial herb with Florence fennel, a bulbous-based vegetable. This herb is grown for its licorice-ﬂavored leaves and seeds. ***a grow Sow seed in spring. Fennel is happy in most well-drained soils as long as it has full sun. It is a tall, aromatic plant, which bears an abundant crop of seeds each year. Water well until established. In fall, cut the stems to 1 in (2.5 cm) above the ground; they will return in spring. harvest Cut stalks and leaves in early summer before the stems turn woody. Harvest seedheads for drying when they are yellow-green. cook Use the leaves in marinades for pork, chicken, and lamb, or in salad dressings. Use seeds or fronds with sea bass or oily ﬁsh such as salmon. BRONZE FENNEL . Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ Pick leaves early in the season, and let new growth ripen over the summer. It is shorter and less vigorous than ordinary fennel, with a milder licorice ﬂavor. HABIT Tall, upright stems ↕ 3–5 ft (90 cm–1.5 m) ↔ 10–12 in (25–30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use seeds and leaves in vinegar, tea, breads, cakes, pies, and sausages. Sprouting seeds are good in salads. , GREEN FENNEL Foeniculum vulgare Don’t plant near dill or they may hybridize. Replant every 3–4 years. A graceful plant with feathery leaves and a licorice ﬂavor throughout. HABIT Tall, upright stems ↕ 5–6 ft (1.5–1.8 m) ↔ about 12 in (30 cm) SWEET WOODRUFF SWEET WOODRUFF Galium odoratum A pretty, perennial groundcover plant with profuse, tiny white ﬂowers. The ﬂowers, stems, and leaves all have a delicate vanilla ﬂavor. ***b grow Sow seed in well-drained soil in spring. It prefers semi-shade to full shade, which makes it useful under and around shrubs. It self-sows freely once established. harvest Cut and dry ﬂowers and leaves together in early summer. cook Traditionally used to prepare punches and wine cups, such as May wine in Germany, and in cocktails. Sprinkle tiny ﬂowers on salads, but use sparingly. Brew a calming tea with the leaves. HABIT Creeping ↕ 20 in (50 cm) ↔ indeﬁnite The aroma of the plant is strengthened when it is wilted or dried HOPS Humulus lupulus Hops are well-known for ﬂavoring beer, and the female ﬂowers of this perennial vine are also used to make tea. The stems can be steamed. ***a grow Plant young plants in rich soil in full sun. With regular water, the common hop will cover a massive amount of aerial space. Because it grows so fast, you need to enrich deep soil with plenty of compost to nourish it. It will need a large arbor, extensive trellis, or an open tree to grow into. harvest Pick young, fresh side shoots in spring. Collect the female ﬂowers—tiered ﬂaky bracts with tiny ﬂowers between them—while fresh and green, and the male ﬂowers as needed. cook Blanch young shoots and serve hot as spring greens, or use in soups or salads. Parboil male ﬂowers and add to salads when cold. HABIT Climbing ↕ 10–20 ft (3–6 m) ↔ indeﬁnite The male ﬂowers grow in yellowish clusters and can be cooked 41 42 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G HYSSOP Hyssopus officinalis The leaves and ﬂowers of this perennial herb have a strong, minty, slightly bitter ﬂavor. In mild winter areas the leaves are evergreen. ***a grow Sow seed indoors in late winter. Transplant to pots by early spring, and set out in a sunny spot in the garden by mid-spring. Hyssop tolerates dry soil but does better when watered as needed. Trim the top shoots to encourage bushy growth. harvest In some areas leaves can be picked year round. Cut ﬂowers in summer when they are fully open. cook Add the pungent fresh ﬂowers to fruit dishes and salads sparingly, and use the powerful leaves in moderation in pies, and meat or game dishes. HABIT Dwarf shrub ↕ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) ↔ 3 ft (90 cm) The leaves release their aroma when brushed against, which makes it a good plant for hedging JASMINE Jasminum officinale This perennial climber emits one of the most exotic perfumes in the world, and its highly scented ﬂowers can be used in cooking. ***ab grow Buy young vines at the nursery and plant them in well-drained soil against a wall, fence, or trellis. Jasmine can withstand temperatures down to 30°F (-1°C). The vine blooms best with full sun, regular watering, and rich soil, but tolerates some shade. harvest Pick the blossoms just before they open, from summer until early fall. cook Use the ﬂowers fresh in infusion for tea, and occasionally desserts. HABIT Climbing ↕ 30 ft (10 m) ↔ indeﬁnite Pick ﬂowers while still buds JUNIPER JUNIPER Juniperus communis Often found in borders, these perennial shrubs have prickly evergreen leaves and bear their edible piney-ﬂavored berries year round. ***ab grow Sow seed or grow from cuttings in spring or fall, or buy a plant of modest size. Juniper grows in any well-drained soil. Position in full sun in cold regions, or partial shade where summers are hot. They need no fertilizing, but water occasionally in dry summers. They do not like boggy soil. harvest Pick berries when they are dark, almost black, with a bluish bloom in late summer. cook Berries traditionally ﬂavor gin and other spirits. To enjoy their ﬂavor in food, crush them and use in marinades, meat stews, pot roasts, stufﬁngs, and winter cabbage dishes. Use fresh, dried, or frozen. Harvest the berries when they are almost black HABIT Upright, spreading or prostrate shrub ↕ 6–12 ft (2–4 m) ↔ 6–12 ft (2–4 m) B AY L E A F Laurus nobilis The ancients crowned victors with wreaths of bay leaves; today cooks have many uses for them. This evergreen shrub bears bitter leaves all year. **a grow Sow seed in spring or buy young plants. In cooler regions, plant in a generous pot that can be moved indoors during the winter. If planting in the garden it will tolerate any soil as long as it is well drained, in full sun, and sheltered from cold, drying winds. The plant will withstand summer droughts. Prune it back if you want to create a smaller shrub. harvest Pick dark green, leathery leaves any time. cook Mix with thyme and parsley to make a bouquet garni; allow to dry a little or use frozen leaves in meat stews, poultry and ﬁsh dishes, and custards. Do not store beyond 3–4 months or the leaves lose their aroma. HABIT Dense tree ↕ 10–50 ft (3–15 m) ↔ 30 ft (10 m) Fresh leaves have a stronger ﬂavor than dried ones 43 44 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G L AV E N D E R Lavandula spp. The sweetly camphorous scent of this perennial deﬁnes freshness. The ﬂowers have the strongest scent, but you can also use the leaves in cooking. grow These are good drought-tolerant plants once established, so plant young plants or cuttings in poor, sandy, dry soils in full sun where they will produce more of their aromatic oils. Deadhead faded ﬂowers in late summer and cut back the plant to within an inch or so of the older stems in fall (see p96). Do not cut into the woody part of the stem or it will kill the plant. harvest Pick ﬂower heads and cut stems when the ﬂowers ﬁrst open. Harvest leaves at any time. cook Use in moderation. Flowers add ﬂavor to desserts, ice cream, sugar, cookies such as shortbread, and drinks. Leaves make a good alternative to rosemary in stews and stufﬁngs. Tall, fragrant ﬂower heads rise above bushy growth Violet bracts appear almost year round in warmer climates , F R E N C H L AV E N D E R Lavandula dentata *a The short, gray-green, aromatic, evergreen leaves have a more pungent, camphor note than English lavender. HABIT Upright shrub ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) E N G L I S H L AV E N D E R u Lavandula angustifolia Short evergreen leaves have a pungent note ***a The most aromatic of the lavenders, with a milder, more ﬂoral scent than the intense Mediterranean lavenders. Don’t fertilize and don’t overwater. HABIT Upright shrub ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) LOVAGE L O VA G E Levisticum officinale This perennial herb has a sharp, penetrating, celery-like ﬂavor throughout its seeds, stalks, and leaves, so only cook with small quantities. ***ab grow Sow seed indoors in late winter. Set out started plants in good garden soil in a protected spot once all risk of frost has passed. They will need adequate water and protection from full sun in the hottest regions. Divide plants in spring or fall. harvest Pick leaves and stalks in summer. Harvest seedheads by cutting down stems when the seeds start to turn brown, then dry (see p116). cook Young shoots can be eaten raw or blanched as a spring vegetable. Add chopped leaves to salads, soups, stews, and stocks for a strong, aromatic, celery ﬂavor. Use lovage seed in cooking as you would celery seed HABIT Low-growing mound with tall stems ↕ 6 ft (2 m) ↔ 3 ft (1 m) LEMON BALM Melissa officinalis The highly aromatic leaves of this perennial give the impression of lemon with a hint of mint. The ﬂowers are also much loved by bees. ***ab grow Divide plants in fall or spring, or sow seed in spring in any good soil in a sunny spot; in very hot regions it will need some shade. Lemon balm self-sows with abandon and will be a pest if not controlled. harvest Pick young leaves throughout the summer and use them fresh, because the ﬂavor is delicate and fades as the leaves age and when dried. cook Use fresh baby leaves to add a delicate lemonmint ﬂavor to tea, and fruit and wine drinks. Chop and mix with soft cheeses. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 24 in (60 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) The leaves look like mint, but release a citrussy scent when crushed 45 46 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G BERGAMOT Monarda didyma This pretty perennial has a place in both the ornamental and herb garden. The aromatic leaves and ﬂowers both have culinary uses. ***Fab grow Sow seed indoors in late winter or directly in the garden from early spring to mid-summer, or grow from cuttings in early summer. It likes good, well-drained garden soil and full sun to dappled shade. Its volatile oils make it resistant to insect damage. Divide plants in early spring (see p91). harvest The hot, high summer days are the best time to pick leaves and ﬂowers. cook Use fresh leaves when brewing tea or add them to stufﬁngs for pork and poultry. Scatter the ﬂower petals over salads. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 3–4 ft (90 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) C U R RY L E A F Murraya koenigii This small, perennial tree can only be grown outdoors in the tropics, but you can grow it indoors elsewhere for its musky, citrussy leaves. *a grow In tropical climates, sow seed directly into rich garden soil or grow from semi-ripe cuttings in late spring or early summer. Elsewhere, sow in pots in a hot, sunny spot indoors. Water well, as it is a thirsty plant. harvest Fresh leaves are available most of the year, except for during a short winter spell. They freeze well in freezer bags. cook Use fresh, dried, or from frozen in vegetarian curries, with pork, or in stufﬁngs for samosas. HABIT Tall shrub or small tree ↕ 20 ft (6 m) ↔ 10–15 ft (3–5 m) SWEET CICELY S W E E T C I C E LY Myrrhis odorata The ferny foliage and white ﬂowers of this hardy perennial carry a light licorice scent, leading some to call it Great Chervil. All parts are edible. ***b grow Sow seed in fall directly in the garden, or grow from root cuttings in spring or fall. This plant prefers light shade and humusy soil, as you would ﬁnd in the woods. Best for the shady part of the herb garden; if planted in sun, its leaves yellow and die in summer, returning in fall. harvest Stalks, stems, and leaves can all be harvested at any time. Collect fresh seeds when they are green, ripe seeds to dry when dark brown. cook Stew leaves with fruit to reduce tartness, or add to salads and egg dishes. Use fresh seeds in ice cream and fruit salads, dried seeds in desserts, and grate the root or cook as a vegetable. HABIT Large, open ↕ 1–2m (3–6ft) ↔ 60cm–1.2m (2–4ft) MYRTLE Myrtus communis The leaves and ﬂower buds of this perennial shrub are spicy with fragrant ﬂowers. Like juniper, the seeds can be ground as a spice. **a grow Take softwood cuttings in spring and semi-hardwood ones in summer and grow on in pots or out in the garden. It prefers well-drained soil of medium fertility in full sun. Myrtle needs little care and can withstand summer droughts. harvest Pick leaves, unopened ﬂower buds, open ﬂowers, and berries as they appear in summer. cook Add the ﬂower buds to salads (without the green parts) and use the berries for their gently resinous orange-blossom ﬂavor. Dry and grind the berries in a pestle and mortar before using. HABIT Dense, mounded shrub ↕ 5–6 ft (1.5–1.8 m) ↔ 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) The fern-like leaves smell of licorice when crushed 47 48 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G MINT Mentha spp. This perennial herb is grown everywhere and is used to ﬂavor just about anything. Spearmint and peppermint are the two most popular kinds, but there are many others. ***Fa grow Sow seed in spring, or take root cuttings or divide clumps. Mint likes rich, wet soil, full sun, or dappled shade in hot regions. Mint spreads rapidly by underground rhizomes, so keep plants in check by planting them in pots. harvest Pick leaves or whole stems when young and fresh. cook Mints have a dominant ﬂavor, so use sparingly with other herbs to enhance delicate ingredients. The ﬂavored varieties have subtle aromas, which evaporate quickly: add them to lamb, dairy, and vegetable dishes, and fruit and chocolate desserts at the last minute. MOROCCAN MINT . Mentha spicata var. crispa ‘Moroccan’ Best grown away from other mints, as this mint hybridizes easily. It has a clean, slightly spicy, mint ﬂavor. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use in all dishes needing mint, and for brewing tea. SPEARMINT . Mentha spicata Has a clean ﬂavor but loses potency after ﬂowering. Cut back to 6–8 in (15–20 cm) to promote new growth. Divide clumps. HABIT Upright, spreading ↕ 10–18 in (25–45 cm) or more ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) or more COOK’S NOTES Serve very fresh sprigs with tarragon with barbecued meats. Mint family members have square stems MINT Stems and leaf veins are reddish-purple when grown in good, moist soil , C H O C O L AT E M I N T Mentha x piperita f. citrata ‘Chocolate’ The dark green to purple leaves have a distinct chocolate-mint smell. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Add to ice creams, chocolate desserts, and berries. Particularly good with raspberries. APPLE MINT . Mentha suaveolens A vigorous plant with downy leaves that have a slight apple aroma. HABIT Spreading ↕ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) or more COOK’S NOTES Good for ﬂavoring cider vinegar, and adding to sauces. GINGER MINT u Mentha x gracilis (syn. M. x gentilis) A hardy perennial with a delicate, warm ﬂavor. HABIT Spreading ↕ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) or more Slightly hairy leaves have a strong peppermint scent , BLACK PEPPERMINT Mentha x piperita var. piperita ‘Black Peppermint’ This is a choice variety with dark purple stems and dark green, oval, strongly peppermint-scented leaves. HABIT Spreading ↕ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) or more COOK’S NOTES Use sparingly in desserts, or in teas. PEPPERMINT . Mentha x piperita A tall-growing hybrid with a strong minty ﬂavor. HABIT Spreading ↕ 24 in (60cm) ↔ 36 in (90 cm) or more 49 50 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G CRESSES Nasturtium The cresses listed here are not aromatic but have a pleasant, crisp, peppery ﬂavor in their leaves and their succulent stems. grow Sow seed in pots or in garden soil in early spring. Both varieties like a sunny spot. harvest Cut the leaves as required. cook The leaves of both cresses give a peppery ﬂavor to salads and make a good garnish. GARDEN CRESS . Lepidium sativum ***a This annual herb grows from seed to very spicy, peppery cress in just a week in ordinary garden soil and is ready to harvest a few weeks later. Often planted with mustard seed to produce lively micro-greens. HABIT Low growing ↕ 3 in (7.5 cm) ↔ indeﬁnite COOK’S NOTES Use in sandwiches and as a peppery ﬁnish to dishes and salads. WAT E R C R E S S . Nasturtium officinale ***Fa Sow seed in alkaline soil. It will grow in pots or the garden if the soil is kept constantly wet. Pick the stems in late spring/early summer. HABIT Low-growing, sprawling ↕ 8–10 in (20–25 cm) ↔ indeﬁnite COOK’S NOTES Wilt ﬂorets in pan juices and serve them with meat; or use in soups and savory tarts. PERILLA PERILLA Perilla spp. This annual herb is better known as shiso in Japan and much of Asia. The decorative leaves have a spicy scent that is reminiscent of cinnamon and cloves. **a grow This herb must be grown as an annual, as it doesn’t withstand frost. Sow seed in spring indoors in pots or outdoors in a sunny spot and well-drained soil once all risk of frost has passed. Give plants a mid-summer drink of liquid fertilizer. Move pots indoors in winter or if frost is forecast. harvest Pick leaves or growing tips here and there at any time. cook Add fresh to noodle soups, spring rolls, and ﬁsh, rice, and vegetable dishes. The pretty, frilly red leaves look good in food and the garden PURPLE PERILLA . Perilla frutescens var. purpurascens The red variety is not as vigorous as the green one, nor as potent, but it does self-sow readily. Gather seed to sow the next spring. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 24 in (60 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use in cake mixes and drinks or as a dye when pickling vegetables. , GREEN PERILLA Perilla frutescens var. crispa The green variety does not like to be waterlogged. Pinch out the growing tips to force more of the leaves. The ﬂavor is more potent than in the red variety. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) COOK’S NOTES It is used as a vegetable in Japanese cuisine. 51 52 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G BASIL Ocimum spp. Basil is one of the must-have annual herbs to grow in or for the kitchen. The cinnamon-licorice-mint aroma and ﬂavor of its leaves contributes to many cuisines around the world. ***a grow Sow seed in spring and throughout the summer in well-drained soil or pots. It likes full sun and adequate moisture. The plant stops growing leaves and loses ﬂavor when it ﬂowers, so pinch out ﬂower buds as they appear. Give the plant a mid-summer feed of liquid fertilizer. harvest Pick young stems with their shiny leaves as they are needed. cook The tomato, of course, is basil’s perfect partner. Basil’s ﬂavor intensiﬁes when cooked, for a more subtle taste, use it raw or add it at the end of cooking. SWEET BASIL . Ocimum basilicum A strongly scented variety with large, bright green leaves. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 2–21⁄2 ft (60–75 cm) ↔ 2 ft (60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use in pesto, salads, tomato sauces, and soups. GREEK BASIL . Ocimum minimum ‘Greek’ This easy-to-grow variety has the smallest leaves of all, but they still have a good ﬂavor. HABIT Compact, bushy ↕ 6–12 in (15–30 cm) ↔ 6–12 in (15–30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Add whole leaves to salads and tomato sauces. LEMON BASIL . Ocimum x citriodorum Both the leaves and ﬂowers of this variety have a fresh, clean, lemony scent. HABIT Compact, bushy ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) COOK’S NOTES It is excellent in tomato salads and ﬁsh stews. Keep a pot of basil in the kitchen; the scent of the leaves repels ﬂies BASIL , PURPLE RUFFLES BASIL Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens ‘Purple Ruffles’ Similar to Purple Basil but this variety has less ﬂavor. It is tricky to raise from seed. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 24–30 in (60–75 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) The large leaves have a rufﬂed, frilly appearance THAI BASIL . Ocimum basilicum ‘Horapha’ The leaves carry a sweet licorice and peppery aroma and a strong licorice ﬂavor. HABIT Sturdy, compact, bushy ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Much-used in Thailand, add sparingly to curries. H O LY B A S I L u Ocimum sanctum The green leaves have a spicy aroma. It originates in Thailand, where it is grown around Buddhist temples. HABIT Vigorous, upright ↕ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) COOK’S NOTES A staple ingredient in Thai cooking, such as in stir-fries with chicken, beef, or pork. The leaves release a strong cinnamon scent when bruised , CINNAMON BASIL Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’ Native to Mexico, this basil has clear cinnamon notes. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) COOK’S NOTES Tear leaves and add to South American dishes, and use in desserts. PURPLE BASIL u Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens A striking plant with its dark maroonpurple, almost black leaves. The leaves have a distinct clove and mint ﬂavor. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 2–21⁄2 ft (60–75 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use to ﬂavor oils and butter, and as a garnish. 53 54 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G OREGANO AND MARJORAM Origanum spp. These herbs are different species in the same genus. Their aromatic leaves are delicious in cooking. Both are perennials, but marjoram is often grown as an annual in cold-winter areas. grow Sow seed in pots in early spring or in the garden in mid-spring in full sun. You can increase plants by root division (see p90). Do not enrich the soil or feed the plants; a poor soil forces the plant to produce more of the volatile oils that give the leaves their aroma and ﬂavor. harvest Pick leaves at any time, but they are at their ﬁnest just before ﬂowering. cook Their pungent, spicy ﬂavor gives a unique lift to Mediterranean ingredients and dishes—pizza, pasta, ﬁsh, meat, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. OREGANO u Origanum vulgare ***a Greek oregano has dark green leaves that are slightly hairy The stems often ﬂop when the ﬂower heads mature. Cut back after ﬂowering to prevent straggly growth. Use fresh or frozen for maximum impact. Oregano keeps its peppery ﬂavor well when dried, too. HABIT Bushy ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 3–4 ft (90 cm–1.2 m) , GREEK OREGANO Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum ‘Greek’ ***a The dark green leaves have a strong, resinous aroma and are excellent for cooking. HABIT Bushy ↕ 24 in (60 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Good for rich stews and pasta dishes. OREGANO AND MARJORAM , POT MARJORAM Origanum onites **a This variety will grow as a perennial when planted in full sun. Allow the soil to dry before watering. This has a less sweet, more piquant ﬂavor than other varieties. HABIT Small, shrubby ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Rub on meats before roasting, add to pasta, or sprinkle on cheese, egg, and vegetable dishes. The aromatic leaves form a pretty, dense mat in winter SWEET MARJORAM u Origanum majorana *a The curving stems don’t grow as tall as those of common oregano, and the leaves have a more delicate, sweet ﬂavor. Mulch with straw to prevent stems lolling. HABIT Shrubby ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) Round, fuzzy leaves release milder aromas and ﬂavors D I T TA N Y O F C R E T E . Origanum dictamnus **a Short stems produce woolly-looking leaves that are unlike other oreganos and have a milder aroma and ﬂavor. The arching stems look best in hanging baskets or elevated pots. HABIT Low growing ↕ 8 in (20 cm) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Used to make tea in Crete. It is good with grilled ﬁsh. 55 56 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G SCENTED GERANIUM Pelargonium spp. Despite their common name, pelargoniums are not related to true geraniums; instead they are perennial herbs with woody stems. Some of these have edible leaves, which have a variety of aromas. *a grow Plant young plants or cuttings in good garden soil enriched with compost in full sun in spring, once all risk of frost has passed. The plants die back in frost, so it is a good idea to plant them in pots that can be moved indoors in cold weather. Pinch out faded blossoms to encourage new blooms. Take cuttings in fall. harvest Pick individual leaves from plants any time during the growing season. cook Use the leaves to ﬂavor preserves, syrups, teas, butters, and sorbets. As with bay, remove the leaves before serving. The leaves of this variety have the most delicate scent LEMON-SCENTED GERANIUM . Pelargonium crispum Its divided leaves release a lemon aroma when crushed. Keep well watered during hot, dry spells. HABIT Upright, neat ↕ 12–36 in (30–90 cm) ↔ 12–36 in (30–90 cm) PRINCE OF ORANGE GERANIUM . Pelargonium ‘Prince of Orange’ Produces orange-scented, green, crinkled leaves. Pretty in herb gardens and at the front of ornamental borders. Pinch tips to promote bushy growth. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 12–36 in (30–90 cm) ↔ 12–36 in (30–90 cm) ROSE-SCENTED GERANIUM u Pelargonium graveolens Very ﬁnely divided leaves. There are many rose-scented geraniums, but this one has the softest scent of all. Give a mid-summer feeding of liquid fertilizer. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 12–36 in (30–90 cm) ↔ 12–36 in (30–90 cm) COOK’S NOTES Good for lining cake pans as an alternative, fragrant baking parchment. Infuse to make rose-scented syrup. PARSLEY PA R S L E Y Petroselinum spp. One of the most useful herbs, bearing nutritious leaves packed with ﬂavor. This biennial is good in pots and makes an attractive edging plant. **ab grow This herb blooms in the second year, but the seed needs sowing in spring each year to produce plants in succession. Parsley favors rich, well-drained garden soil and a sunny or partially shaded spot. Enrich the soil around the plant with compost in mid-summer. harvest Select whole stems, leaving plenty on each plant so they stay well nourished. cook Both the stems and leaves can be added to a multitude of savory dishes; from omelets to stews to baked ﬁsh. Parsley freezes well but is not worth drying. FL AT-L E A F PA R S L E Y d Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum ‘Italian’ Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours before planting to hasten germination. It has a more pronounced ﬂavor than the curly type. HABIT Neat, bushy ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 12–36 in (30–60 cm) The delicatelooking leaves have a strong ﬂavor Sprigs look pretty as a garnish u C U R LY PA R S L E Y Petroselinum crispum If starting from seed, expect germination to take up to a month. It has a mild ﬂavor. HABIT Low-growing mound ↕ 10–12 in (25–30 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) COOK’S NOTES Chop ﬁnely if sprinkling on dishes as an edible garnish, as the tough curly leaves can be rough on the palate. 57 58 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G ANISE Pimpinella anisum The leaves of this annual can be used as ﬂavoring, but it is the seeds that are most prized for their rich, licorice ﬂavor. *a grow Anise has a tap root and resents moving once established, so in spring, sow seed in a light, well-drained soil in full sun where you want it to grow. It takes about four months from seedling to seed-bearing, so it’s not for regions that have late frosts or prolonged cold weather. Water infrequently but deeply. harvest Just before the seeds ripen, cut the stalks and hang them to dry in paper bags (see p116). cook Chop fresh leaves to add a spiced sweetness to salads and fruit; seeds enhance breads, apple pies, curries, ﬁsh stews, cakes, and dried fruit dishes. HABIT Upright, leafy ↕ 20 in (50 cm) ↔ 10–18 in (24–45 cm) PURSLANE Portulaca oleracea This annual makes a good pot herb, or you can use the leaves, stems, and ﬂower buds to add a snow pea-like ﬂavor and texture to salads. *a grow Sow seed in any soil in full sun in spring. Purslane grows quickly once the ground warms up. If harvesting the herb from ﬁelds, make sure no pesticides have been used. It does require some additional water in hot summers. harvest Pull up whole plants any time before the ﬂower buds open. cook Its ﬂower buds, stems, and ﬂeshy leaves make a good ingredient in mixed salads. You can cook the foliage as you would spinach, or chop them and add to tabbouleh. HABIT Trailing ↕ 8–18 in (20–45 cm) ↔ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) Purslane is believed to be a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids SUMAC SUMAC Rhus spp. In meadows, woodlands, and wastelands this perennial is a common shrub, which puts on a dramatic red-leafed display in fall. Either harvest berries or leave them to develop into seeds, which have a distinctive astringent quality. grow Sow seed in early spring in full sun to dappled shade. It is happy in poor soil, but grow it in moist but well-drained soil for the best fall color. Mulch seedlings to conserve moisture. The suckers from this shrub can be invasive. harvest Cut off dense clusters of red-berried seedheads in the fall. Plant a few seeds directly and store the rest in paper bags (see p116). cook Use the seedheads whole, ground, or extract the juice after soaking to add a pleasantly sour, fruity ﬂavor to Middle Eastern dishes. Dried seedheads make a calming tea and are good scattered over ﬂat bread dough before baking. S TA G H O R N S U M A C . Rhus typhina ***ab The branches are covered with downy hairs, hence its common name. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 6–7 ft (1.8–2.1 m) ↔ 3–4 ft (90 cm–1.2 m) COOK’S NOTES Its berries can be washed, strained, sweetened, and made into pink lemonade. SICILIAN SUMAC d Rhus coriaria **a Grow it only in full sun, in dry or moist soil. This variety has the best ﬂavored, tart berries of all the sumacs. HABIT Upright, open, branching ↕ 10 ft (3 m) ↔ 5–6 ft (1.5–1.8 m) COOK’S NOTES Its acidic berries are made into a condiment in the Middle East. The smoke from burning seedheads is used by beekeepers to calm bees 59 60 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G BLACK CURRANT Ribes nigrum The black fruits of this bushy, deciduous shrub have a slightly tart ﬂavor and are a great source of vitamin C. ***a grow Plant young plants in a sunny part of the herb garden in good, well-drained soil. They are happy in cold winter areas. Mulch each shrub with rich compost in the spring before the buds form. harvest Pick the ripe berries in mid-summer. cook Black currants are a perfect ingredient for ice cream, summer desserts, jams, preserves, cordials (see p175), and liqueurs. HABIT Bushy shrub ↕ 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) ↔ 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) ROSE Rosa rugosa This is the perfect rose for the herb garden. This perennial produces fragrant blooms followed by large, tomato-red hips (seed pods). ***a grow Plant young plants in full sun in decent soil next to a fence, wall, trellis, or other support. This rose has good pest and disease resistance. harvest Pick ﬂowers as needed, but leave some to develop into hips. Collect the hips when they have reached a good size and have turned red. cook Use newly opened ﬂowers to make rosewater and the ﬂowers or hips to make syrup. Dried petals are ground for use in spice blends. HABIT Rambling ↕ 3–6 ft (1–2 m) ↔ 3–6 ft (1–2 m) Do not deadhead faded ﬂowers, to allow hips to develop SORREL SORREL Rumex spp. This leafy herb adds a tangy, acidic ﬂavor to soups and rich foods. There are two species of sorrel used as herbs—both are perennials. ***b grow Sow seed in rich, moist soil in a partially shaded spot; the leaves become bitter in full sun. Sorrel is quick to bolt, so remove ﬂower stalks to encourage leaf growth. harvest Pick leaves throughout the growing season while they are young. The leaves freeze well. cook Use fresh leaves in salads, sauces, soups, and in ﬁsh dishes. Sorrel is the perfect partner for butter and cream. Mature leaves can be acidic so are best used in moderation. The smaller, shield-shaped leaves have a succulent texture GARDEN SORREL . Rumex acetosa The common variety of sorrel makes a clump of tangy, sharp-ﬂavored leaves that can be divided in fall. HABIT Clump-forming, low growing ↕ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) ↔ 3–4 ft (90 cm–1.2 m) Sharp in ﬂavor, the large dark leaves partner rich foods perfectly , FRENCH SORREL Rumex scutatus This species can take more sun than garden sorrel. The leaves have a milder, more lemony ﬂavor and a succulent texture. HABIT Clump-forming, low growing ↕ 6–10 in (15–25 cm) ↔ 24–36 in (60–90 cm) 61 62 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G R O S E M A RY Rosmarinus officinalis These perennials come in different shapes and sizes; from tall upright ones to those that hug the ground. The edible ﬂowers can be blue, white, and, rarely, pink. All have needle-like aromatic leaves with a sweet, resinous smell. grow Sow seed or plant cuttings in pots or in the garden in spring. Rosemary tolerates poor, dry soil, but it thrives in good soil. Do not overwater; rosemary will die in boggy or wet soil. harvest Cut off the outer stems and pick ﬂowers as needed. cook A quintessential ﬂavor of Mediterranean cooking. Cut sprigs for casseroles or as skewers to grill food. Chop leaves or use them whole with meat, especially lamb, casseroles, potatoes, ﬁsh, rice, and breads, or infuse in vinegar and oil. Flowers have a milder ﬂavor and look good in ice cubes. R O S E M A RY . Rosmarinus officinalis **a The common evergreen shrub has dark green, aromatic leaves. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 5 ft (1.5 m) ↔ 5 ft (1.5 m) The stems have a strong ﬂavor and a woody texture, so remove cooked sprigs before serving dishes , P R O S T R AT E R O S E M A RY Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus Group **a A cascading form that will trail attractively over walls, down banks, and from hanging baskets. It has highly aromatic, strongly ﬂavored leaves. Renew by division (see p91) every few years to prevent dead centers. HABIT Trailing ↕ 10–24 in (25–60 cm) ↔ 4–8 ft (1.2–2.4 m) ROSEMARY R O S E M A RY ‘ M A J O R C A P I N K ’ . Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Majorca Pink’ *a Tall branches ﬂop into an interesting shape when the plant matures. Carries lilac-pink ﬂowers and a fruity fragrance. Ideal for pots, so that it can then be moved under cover in winter. HABIT Upright ↕ 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m) ↔ initially 2–4 ft (60 cm–1.2 m); makes a 3–4 ft (90 cm–1.2 m) mound when mature COOK’S NOTES Use young sprigs to ﬂavor olive oil, or to infuse milk, cream, or syrup. R O S E M A RY ‘CORSICAN P R O S T R AT E ’ . Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Corsican Prostrate’ *a This variety has arching stems and deep blue ﬂowers, and spreads by creeping roots. HABIT Arching ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ indeﬁnite COOK’S NOTES Good when in ﬂower as a garnish for leg or rack of lamb. Closelypacked leaves result in a bushy plant R O S E M A RY ‘MISS JESSOPP’S UPRIGHT’ . Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’ **a Slender stems and excellent ﬂavor for culinary uses. Place at the rear of the herb garden in a sunny spot. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 4–6 ft (1.2–1.8 m) ↔ 30–36 in (75–90 cm) The blue ﬂowers make an attractive garnish , R O S E M A RY ‘TUSCAN BLUE’ Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’ **a Very tall, slender, aromatic plant that eventually turns bare at the base. A more cold-hardy variety, but wrap stems in frost-prone areas. HABIT Upright ↕ 6–7 ft (1.8–2.1 m) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) 63 64 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G SAGE Salvia spp. This perennial herb family is huge, but most of its members are ornamental, apart from these key culinary ones. Its crinkled, musky leaves can be used fresh or dried. grow Sages like the warm, dry soils of their native Mediterranean. Sow seed or plant young plants in a part of the herb garden where you have dug sand into the soil for good drainage. Sage needs no special care but does require watering if the soil becomes too dry. Take cuttings in summer. harvest Pick individual leaves as needed, or take whole stems for bouquet garni (see p128). cook Raw, fresh leaves are a little hairy and have a strong ﬂavor, so chop them very ﬁnely and use in small amounts. Add toward the end of cooking to give a distinctive taste to risotto and pork, veal, and venison dishes; dried leaves are good for stufﬁngs and with poultry, ﬁsh, potatoes, and carrots. You can use ﬂowers to make summer teas. GOLDEN SAGE . Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’ **a Golden variegations of green leaves make this a great garnish. Boost its mild ﬂavor by planting it in full sun. HABIT Upright ↕ 24 in (60 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) Variegated leaves in sage plants tend to have a milder ﬂavor SAGE The leaves of this subtropical sage smell distinctly of pineapples PINEAPPLE SAGE u Salvia elegans ‘Scarlet Pineapple’ oa u PURPLE SAGE Salvia ofﬁcinalis ‘Purpurascens’ This variety has slender, brittle stems with narrow, pineapple-scented leaves. It likes good, moist soil and may need support where growth is lush, and some frost protection. HABIT Branching ↕ 3–4 ft (90 cm–1.2 m) ↔ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Its scarlet ﬂowers are good for salads. **a Less potent than the common sage, but with an attractive spicy note in its ﬂavor. HABIT Low growing ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) COMMON SAGE d Salvia officinalis **a This is the best-known sage for culinary use. The oval leaves are highly aromatic and slightly spicy. HABIT Low growing ↕ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) ,THREE-COLOR SAGE Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’ **a The leaf centers are green, but the margins run between pink and cream to striking effect. Full sun intensiﬁes the color changes. It has a mild ﬂavor. HABIT Upright ↕ 12–24 in (30–60 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) 65 66 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G ELDER Sambucus spp. White ﬂowers and small purpleblack berries with a sweet muscat ﬂavor are produced in profusion by this perennial. Both are used in cooking and for ﬂavoring. Berries are mildly poisonous when raw ***b grow Sow seed in spring outdoors, or plant young plants in semi-shade and good, moist soil. Mulch with shredded leaves in fall. Take hardwood cuttings in fall. harvest Pick ﬂower heads in early summer and strip ﬂowers off the stems. Harvest berries late in the season when they are purple-black. The berries are mildly poisonous when unripe and should not be eaten raw. cook Add ﬂowers to drinks, cordials, custards, ice cream, and fruit desserts. Brew dried ﬂowers for tisanes. Use berries in gelatin molds and for wine. EUROPEAN ELDER (BLACK ELDER) d Sambucus nigra This variety is most commonly found in Europe, hence its common name. Plant where you need a windbreak or to screen an herb garden. Contact with the leaves may irritate skin. HABIT Upright, shrubby ↕ 15–30 ft (4.5–6.1 m) ↔ 10–15 ft (3–4.5 m) Do not eat the leaves, as they are purgative u A M E R I C A N E L D E R B E R RY Sambucus canadensis Grows wild in cold-winter areas of eastern North America. Prune to keep plants well behaved in the herb garden. HABIT Shrubby, upright ↕ 10–12 ft (3–3.6 m) ↔ 10–12 ft (3–3.6 m) SALAD BURNET SALAD BURNET Sanguisorba minor This perennial is a pretty addition to an herb garden. Its toothed leaves are delicious in salads, imparting a cucumber-like taste. ***ab grow Sow seed in spring in pots or in the garden. Salad burnet likes good garden soil and full sun to light shade. Pinch out ﬂower buds and cut the leaves regularly to encourage new foliage. harvest As it is an evergreen plant, you can clip leaves as needed year round. cook Add fresh leaves to mixed leaf salads. HABIT Rosette forming ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 18–24 in (45–60 cm) STEVIA Stevia rebaudiana The sugary tasting leaves of this perennial herb are 30–45 times sweeter than granulated sugar and have almost no calories. ***a grow Plant cuttings in acid soil in full sun in early summer. Sow seed indoors in late winter or early spring under cover and plant out when risk of frost has passed. Stevia requires a lot of water, so water deeply twice a week in the growing season. harvest Pick individual leaves. cook Use the leaves fresh, dried, or ground, or boil them to make a syrup which can be used as a sugar substitute to sweeten desserts, fruit, and drinks. HABIT Upright, bushy ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔18 in (45 cm) The serrated leaves have a sugary ﬂavor and a licorice aftertaste 67 68 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G S AV O R Y Satureja spp. Plant both the perennial winter and annual summer savory in an herb garden and you can harvest their bitter, thyme-like leaves from spring until early winter. grow In spring, sow seed of both varieties in well-drained soil, or grow winter savory from cuttings. Enrich the soil with compost before planting and top-dress winter savory in pots. harvest The leaves of summer savory have the most potency just before ﬂowering. Winter savory is evergreen in all but very frosty regions, so it can be harvested any time. cook The fresh leaves of both varieties taste better young, but they keep their ﬂavor when dried. Use sparingly in stufﬁngs with other herbs. Good with veal and beans, peas, or other legumes. As it is evergreen, winter savory leaves can be harvested year-round S U M M E R S AV O RY u Satureja hortensis **ab This makes a good pot plant. Plant in partial shade in hot gardens. HABIT Open, upright with trailing stems ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) COOK’S NOTES It is most often used in bean dishes. , W I N T E R S AV O RY Satureja montana ***a Plant this variety in full sun. It has a coarser, stronger ﬂavor. HABIT Dwarf, bushy ↕ 12–15 in (30–38 cm) ↔ about 24 in (60 cm) ALECOST ALECOST Tanacetum balsamita British brewers have ﬂavored ales with this perennial herb since the Middle Ages. A few of its minty, sweet leaves go a long way in cooking. ***a grow Sow seed indoors or divide roots and plant out in well-drained soil enriched with compost in a sunny spot. Give plants adequate water during the growing season. Cutting back stems to 9–12 in (22–30 cm) forces more pretty, scalloped basal leaves. harvest Pick individual leaves from mid-summer into fall. cook Add fresh young leaves to salads, soups, stufﬁngs, and cakes. Use leaves and ﬂowers to make home-brewed beer. Leaves have a bitter tang, so use sparingly HABIT Mat-forming, open ↕ 36 in (90 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) DANDELION Taraxacum officinale This perennial plant needs no introduction. If it appears in your garden, harvest the leaves, for they make delicious bitter spring salad greens. ***ab grow This herb grows anywhere, but if it’s not already in your garden, gather the seed from frothy seedheads in ﬁelds and lawns—but not too much. It needs no help to establish itself, other than a puff of breath to blow its seeds aloft. It will grow again from a tiny piece of root left in the soil. harvest Gather the young leaves in early spring from your garden or places you know haven’t been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. cook Add fresh young leaves to salads, cook stems and larger leaves, which can be more bitter, and use petals in salads or to make wine. HABIT Low-growing rosettes ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) 69 70 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G THYME Thymus spp. An essential addition to any herb garden. For a small plant, the leaves of this evergreen perennial have a curiously strong ﬂavor. Bees love thyme’s white to lilac ﬂowers. ***a grow Sow seed in pots in spring (it may take a month for them to germinate, so be patient) or plant softwood cuttings. Thyme likes well-drained sandy soil and doesn’t require a lot of water. In very hot climates, plant in semi-shade. Clumps can be divided in late spring. harvest Clip stems as you need them to keep the plant from becoming woody and sparse. cook Add to any savory dish or use to make bouquets garnis to ﬂavor poultry, pork, and ﬁsh dishes, or to add to stufﬁngs and vegetables. The leaves lose little of their ﬂavor when dried. A strong lemony ﬂavor makes this perfect for cooking u C A R AWAY T H Y M E Thymus herba-barona The dark green leaves have a distinctive caraway scent. HABIT Low-growing, mat-forming ↕ 2–4 in (5–10 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Particularly good with stir-fries and meat. , LEMON THYME Thymus x citriodorus This is a very good thyme for cooking, as the leaves have a strong citrus aroma. HABIT Upright ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 24 in (60 cm) COOK’S NOTES Perfect partner for chicken and ﬁsh dishes. THYME 71 , ORANGE-SCENTED THYME Thymus x citriodorus ‘Fragrantissimus’ Use the spicy orange-scented leaves of this variety as a ﬂavoring in place of orange peel. HABIT Upright ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 8 in (20 cm) This bushy, sturdy plant produces stems with plenty of ﬂavor-packed leaves u COMMON THYME Thymus vulgaris Give this variety a spot in full sun for the best ﬂavor. It is the best-known thyme and the one most often used. HABIT Compact, bushy ↕ 18 in (45 cm) ↔ 18 in (45 cm) COOK’S NOTES Use in stews and casseroles. S I LV E R T H Y M E . Thymus vulgaris ‘Argenteus’ Crushing the silver-gray and green variegated leaves will release their rich aroma. HABIT Upright ↕ 12 in (30 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) WILD CREEPING THYME . Thymus serpyllum A more mildly scented variety, but still good for culinary use and aesthetically a real joy to have in the garden. HABIT Low-growing, mat-forming ↕ 1–3 in (2.5–7.5 cm) ↔ 36 in (90 cm) Pretty grown in between stone steps, the aromatic leaves will withstand being trodden on 72 C H O O S E — T H E H E R B C ATA L O G FENUGREEK Trigonella foenum-graecum Once used as animal fodder by the Greeks (its name means Greek hay), this annual herb has bitter leaves and maple-syrup-ﬂavored seeds. ****a grow Sow seed in a sunny spot in good garden soil in late spring when the soil is thoroughly warm. It needs adequate water during the growing season. harvest Pick leaves any time during the growing season. Collect seed pods when they ripen in the fall and dry them. cook Used by cooks in the Middle East and India, but less so in Europe or North America. Cook the bitter leaves in curries, use the seeds as a spice, and eat home-sprouted seeds in salads in small amounts. HABIT Small, upright ↕ 24 in (60 cm) ↔ 12–18 in (30–45 cm) The leaves of fenugreek resemble those of clover NASTURTIUM Tropaeolum majus This annual vine rambles over supports bearing yellow, orange, and red ﬂowers. The leaves, seeds, and ﬂowers all have a spicy, peppery taste. ***a grow Sow seed in spring in good, rich soil in a sunny spot where you have plenty of space. Water well during the hot summer months. harvest Pick leaves and ﬂowers to use fresh in summer, and pick the seed pods just before they turn from green to brown. cook Add the colorful ﬂowers and the peppery leaves to salads, and the unripe seeds to sauces and dressings. HABIT Climbing (bush types available) ↕ 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) ENGLISH VIOLET ENGLISH VIOLET Viola odorata The sweetly scented ﬂowers of this perennial have long been used in perfumes and cookery. The leaves and ﬂowers taste of Parma violets. Pretty purple ﬂowers make a delicate garnish ***Fbc grow Violets are natural denizens of woodlands and shady areas but will tolerate full sun in cool climates. Sow seed or bulblets in a suitable spot in your garden and they will spread themselves with abandon. Snip off tops after the frosts, then fertilize with a top dressing of compost early in the spring. harvest Pick the little fragrant violet ﬂowers as they appear. Harvest the milder-tasting leaves throughout the summer, as needed. cook Use the ﬂowers in salads, to ﬂavor drinks, as a coloring agent, and once crystallized, to decorate desserts. Add the leaves to salads. A few leaves are palatable, but too many can cause digestive upset HABIT Low-growing, clump-forming ↕ 6 in (15 cm) ↔ 12 in (30 cm) GINGER Zingiber officinale This ancient perennial herb is a tropical one, but the edible roots can be successfully grown under cover in a temperate climate. oa grow Buy cuttings or fresh roots in early spring and break them into 2-in (5-cm) pieces. Let the ends dry, then plant them just below the surface of a rich, moist soil. Ginger likes heat and humidity, so grow it in a pot that you can bring indoors in winter. harvest After 3 months, dig up the plants. Discard the leaves and store the roots in a moist paper towel in the salad drawer of the fridge for up to 3 weeks. It freezes well. cook Grate the root to add a refreshing tang to stir-fries, curries, cookies, cakes, desserts, chocolate, and teas. Use frozen roots straight from the freezer. HABIT Upright ↕ 5 ft (1.5 m) ↔ indeﬁnite Beneath delicate aromatic leaves lies a deliciously spicy edible root 73 GROW Once you’ve chosen your herbs, it’s time to get growing. Find out how and where you can sow seed or grow young plants, how to keep them fed, watered, healthy, and productive throughout the growing season, and how to create new plants from old. 76 GROW CLIMATE Try to choose perennials that will thrive in your local climate. The symbols here (and in The Herb Catalog) show a plant’s ability to survive cold and wet climates and indicate, therefore, which conditions best enable these perennials to return each spring, or if herbs must be grown from seed each year. *** HARDY HERBS These herbs can stay outside over winter in regions where temperatures drop to a minimum of 5°F (-15°C) and the ground freezes solid, as they are adapted to survive in these conditions. Five such plants are illustrated here. Roman chamomile Chamaemelum nobile Chives Allium schoenoprasum Mints Mentha spp. Thymes Thymus spp. Lemon balm Melissa ofﬁcinalis C L I M AT E ** FROST-HARDY HERBS Where winter minimums do not fall below 23°F (-5°C), climates can be warm and dry (typically similar to that of the Mediterranean, with dry summers and wet winters), or warm and moist. In these regions you can grow most of the hardy and frost-hardy herbs (such as those pictured here), as well as more tender perennials that might not survive the winter in colder areas. If temperatures are forecast to drop below this minimum, some of these plants may need some protection if they are to survive, undamaged, until spring. Common sage Salvia ofﬁcinalis Arugula Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa Dittany of Crete oregano Origanum dictamnus Bay leaf Laurus nobilis Rosemary Rosmarinus ofﬁcinalis 77 78 GROW HERBS * HALF-HARDY These herbs can be killed by frosts and severe winter weather, but they ﬂourish where temperatures do not drop below 32°F (0°C). Do not plant in frost pockets (areas where cold air and frost collect). If frost is forecast, protect plants such as those shown below with mulch, cover with cloches or insulating ﬂeece, or bring them indoors into a sunny spot. Curry leaf Murraya koenigii Sweet marjoram Origanum majorana Chilli peppers Capsicum spp. Scented geranium Pelargonium spp. French lavender Lavandula dentata C L I M AT E TOLERANT OF WET SOILS F HERBS Not many herbs like getting their feet wet, but there are a few (including those pictured here) that will tolerate moist but well-drained soils. If you have a spot with constantly wet soil, try some of these herbs. All will do well in dappled shade, too. Mints Mentha spp. Bergamot Monarda didyma English violet Viola odorata Watercress Nasturtium ofﬁcinale Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria 79 80 GROW PLANNING Once you’ve identiﬁed your climate, it’s time to choose where—or in what— to grow your herbs. Do you want to grow just a few herbs in pots, or would you OLNH D PRUH HODERUDWH SORW" %H PLQGIXO RI KRZ PXFK VXQ \RXU KHUEV QHHG DQG position them appropriately in your garden. POTS Most culinary herbs take well to pot culture. Container growing can produce good results, as you can move plants around the garden to get the most sun or to give them some shade on very sunny days. It is also easier to move frost-tender plants indoors into a sunny spot during winter months. However, plants in pots also require frequent watering—daily in the summer. If you have a south-facing fence or wall, dress it up with a window box or wall-mounted pots spilling over with greenery. Window boxes allow you to grow a good selection of herbs in one space, and can be conveniently positioned by a kitchen window to make picking for cooking even easier. Plant herbs in generous containers with drainage holes in the bottom. Use ﬁne soil mixed in equal quantities with vermiculite for the Mediterranean herbs, and 100 percent potting soil for delicate herbs such as chervil or French tarragon. INVASIVE HERBS Some he