Herbs are an easy way to add flavor to dishes of all types. Instead of buying all of your herbs at the grocery every time a recipe calls for them, try growing some! Many herbs, such as basil and cilantro, are annuals that need to be replanted each year. But there are many perennial herbs as well, that can brighten both your garden and your cooking season after season.
Here are five perennial herb plants that will look great in your garden and taste great in your kitchen. Each one also includes a link to a sample recipe!
Chives are a member of the onion family, but instead of the bulb being used for cooking, the leaves are. They have a mild onion flavor, and are long, thin, and bright green, growing to 10 inches tall. In the spring, the plants bloom with light purple flowers – which are also edible! Chives thrive in ordinary, well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. Snip the spear-like leaves as needed for recipes.
Sample recipe: Sour Cream Chive Bread
Rosemary is a Mediterranean native herb that is used extensively in recipes from that region. This fragrant herb also has ornamental value with its dark needle-like leaves and small blue flowers, and looks great in floral arrangements and topiaries. Huntington Carpet Rosemary grows to a foot high and spreads easily, working well as a groundcover that can be pruned to shape. The plant needs minimal care in full sun and well-drained soil.
Sample recipe: Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries
Among the many available varieties of mint, peppermint is the most commonly thought of and is one of the most versatile for cooking. The Blue Balsam Peppermint grows 1-2' high and like all mints it spreads aggressively, so growing it in containers or with partitions of some kind is recommended. Snipping off older growth continuously will promote new leaves, and in the fall, you should cut the plant back to the ground.
Sample recipe: Easy Fresh Mint Tea
Greek Oregano, as its name implies, is a popular herb in Greek cooking, but it's used in other cuisines as well, such as Italian and Mexican. This fragrant perennial grows 2-3' tall, but you can start harvesting sprigs once the plant reaches six inches in height. The leaves are fragrant and have a hot, peppery flavor. Greek Oregano is easy to grow in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
Sample recipe: Roasted Potatoes With Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano
Berggarten Sage is an evergreen sage variety with large, oval leaves that can be used in a variety of savory dishes. This perennial grows 1-2' high and does best in well-drained soil and full sun. The fragrant Berggarten Sage is both heat and drought-tolerant once established. The last leaves of the season should be harvested in late summer or early fall, to give the plant enough time to heal pruning wounds before winter sets in.
Sample recipe: Orange Herb Roasted Chicken