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Let’s Talk About Chef Jeff’s Menu of Herbs

Parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, thyme, oregano, and rosemary are herbs that add not only enticing aroma, fresh flavor and vivid green color to food but also have remarkable health benefits. When you move beyond thinking of herbs as mere garnishes and start to see them as major culinary players, a whole world of nourishing taste opens up to you.

Sweet Basil is an aromatic, annual herb with a compact habit and white flowers in summer.  Use fresh or dry to complement Italian cuisine.  Perfect for adding flavor to all tomato-based dishes, in pesto sauce, and salads.  Plant in gardens and containers in fertile, well-drained soil.

Chives are a grass-like perennial herb with thin tubular foliage, and edible purple rose flowers in June.  Flowerheads can be cut and used in floral arrangements.  Great with potatoes and eggs or as a garnish for soups, salads, soft cheeses and sauces.  Best grown in containers or garden borders in average, well-drained soil.

Cilantro is a widely used annual herb with flat parsley-like leaves and white flowerheads in summer.  The fresh leaves are ideal for South-East Asian, Mexican and Middle-Eastern cuisines.  The seeds and roots are also suitable for pickling — plant in average, well-drained soil.

Dill is an aromatic herb that has plumes of finely cut foliage and springs of greenish-yellow flowers in summer. The seeds and leaves work well with potatoes, eggs, fish, chip and vegetable dips, or seafood dishes. Also ideal for pickling. Plant in average, well-drained soil.

Oregano is a culinary herb with small gray-green, spreading foliage.  Edible white to purple flowers in summer. Use fresh or dried to add flavor to Italian, Greek and Mexican cuisine. Best planted in borders and herb gardens in well-drained soil.

Italian Parsley is a strongly flavored biennial herb with flat, dark green leaves, used fresh or dried to complement Italian cuisine.  Perfect for adding flavor to all tomato-based dishes.  Ideal as a garnish for sauces, butter, fish, dressings, and stuffing.  Plant in border gardens and containers in fertile, well-drained soil.

Peppermint is an aromatic, dark green leaf with a strong peppermint flavor and mauve flowers in summer.  Use fresh as a flavoring in desserts, iced drinks, salads, and garnishes.  Popular in potpourris and sachets. Plant in herb gardens and containers in fertile, moist soil.

Rosemary is a beautiful shrubby herb with bluish-green, needle-like foliage and edible blue flowers.  Sprigs may be used fresh or dry in meat dishes, soups and stews, and to flavor oil and vinegar.  Ideal for garden borders, grown as an informal hedge, or potted topiary.  Plant in average well-drained soil in full sun.

Sage is an aromatic perennial herb has downy silver-gray leaves and edible blue flower in summer.  Perfect as a seasoning for stuffing and sausages, or used dry to make a soothing tea.  Also used as a medicinal herb.  Plant in garden borders in average, well-drained soil.

Thyme is an aromatic, gray-green, shrubby herb with lavender colored flowers in July.  Use fresh or dry in fish, poultry and vegetable dishes, and as a medicinal herb. Plant in garden borders in very well-drained soil.