Ever wondered what our food would be like without herbs? I for one, feel that my world as a Nudie Foodie would not be the same without my beloved herbs! Especially fresh herbs picked straight from the ground! Imagine how dull and tasteless your Thai Beef Salad would be without that zingy flavour from the fresh coriander leaves or imagine a roast leg of lamb without out it’s famous partner in crime, Rosemary. Even dried herbs can do wonders to an otherwise fairly dull tasting dish. A sprinkling of mixed dried herbs can bring a boring old spag bol to life and a Greek salad is not a Greek salad without some dried oregano to bring the dish together is it not?
Not only do herbs add flavour, depth and colour to meals, they also contain a myriad of nutrients that help us ward off illness and stay strong and healthy! Although I clearly adore herbs and use them religiously in my cooking, I am well aware that fresh herbs are not cheap! Especially if you are like me and use them in your cooking on a daily basis! So, I’ve decided to let you in on a little secret… Save yourself some coin and invest in your own mini herb patch! Now I know what you’re thinking…”But I live in the city and I don’t have room for a garden!”
Well if this is you, then I have some good news….ANYONE can grow some green fingers and grow a mini herb garden, even if you live in an apartment! All you need is a small balcony or windowsill, some good quality herb pots and fertiliser and then treat your herbs with some tender loving care! You don’t need masses of pots or different herbs, just choose the ones you use most often. Trust me, it is just the handiest thing to be able to decide what you’re having for dinner at the last minute then just duck outside (or to your windowsill) and pick a fresh bunch of your favourite herbs straight out of the soil!
From my experiences and from what my mum taught me growing up, some herbs are easier to grow (and maintain) than others. Basil, rosemary and mint are three such herbs that seem to withstand the test of time and can tolerate hotter temperatures than some of the others. Trust me, if these herbs can flourish and thrive even in the 45 degree heat of my parent’s garden in Central West QLD then they must be pretty tough! Coriander on the other hand is unfortunately very difficult to grow without the right climate conditions, so don’t be disheartened if you have trouble keeping this little baby alive!
Though I live in the inner city, I am lucky enough to have a court yard with enough room to grow quite a collection of herbs including basil (which almost grows like a weed at times!), parsley, mint, rosemary, oregano, chives and sage. And I am telling you now my life would not be the same without it!
So, if you haven’t thought about giving it a go before, why not visit your local nursery or farmers markets next weekend and pick yourself up a couple of different types of herb pots and try your hand at becoming a green thumb! Not only will it save you a bucket load of cash in the long run (with a small herb pot costing you as much as one bunch of fresh herbs from the supermarket), but you will also be doing your little bit for the environment as a supporter of sustainable farming and food production!
Still not convinced? Have a look at the nutritional benefits that a couple of my favourite herbs have to offer…
Parsley and Basil-
These herbs are great sources of minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium, which are all required for a range of important daily bodily functions.
They are also rich in many antioxidant vitamins including vitamin A and beta-carotene (Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision), vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant), vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) and a number of other forms of antioxidants.
Both of these herbs are also very rich in vitamin K, which is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping the mineralization process in the bones.
But it doesn’t stop there, Parsley leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as vitB5 (pantothenic acid), VitB2 (Riboflavin), VitB3 (Niacin), VitB6 (Pyridoxine) and VitB1 (Thiamin), all of which play vital roles in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism!
Enough said! Let’s get growing!!