I was introduced to fresh herbs at a very young age by my parents. They had a huge garden and somehow my mom seemed to sneak fresh herbs into just about every meal. I remember being intrigued by herbs with names like, banana mint, pineapple sage and lemon verbena. My mother’s Italian heritage carried through to her cooking. At least once a week, we would have pasta or homemade pizzas made with a combination of fresh basil, marjoram, oregano and thyme. These experiences influenced my use of herbs today.
I found that I use herbs in kitchen much more frequently when I have easy access to them. My dad helped me understand that herbs don’t need a lot of space to grow. In fact, they can grow in pots, as long as they have healthy soil that is filled with nutrients, lots of water and plenty of sun. This concept turned my small and narrow third-story balcony into a go-to location for fresh herbs. The space is only 2 feet wide and 6 feet long. It’s just enough space to house six medium pots, where I’ve grown a variety of herbs over the years – curly and flat leaf parsley, orange mint, basil, chives, lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, thyme, oregano and bay leaf. I absolutely love taking care of these herbs, knowing that their flavors and health benefits will find their way into my home-cooked meals.
When it comes to nutrition, generally, herbs contain concentrated sources of a wide range of disease fighting phytochemicals and have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. More specifically,
Basil contains flavonoids that protect cell structures and damaged chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.
Rosemary contains substances that stimulate the immune system, increase circulation and improve digestion.
Parsley has been shown to inhibit tumor formation in the lungs.
Oregano contains oils that have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
These are just a few of their amazing qualities!
Need some guidance for planting your own potted herb garden? Check out these resources:
It’s not too late in the season to plant an herb garden. Trust me; you will not regret the flavors and powerful health benefits that these little leaves will provide!