You don’t really need a garden to take advantage of all the summer sunlight by growing a few herb plants in your windowsill! Herbs are quick-growing and don’t need much attention, so they are easy for even the most novice gardeners. Growing them in your windowsill is convenient because they don’t require outdoor space! It is extra handy to grow them in a kitchen windowsill because they are an arm’s reach away from being thrown into your favorite recipes.
Fresh herbs are fun to grow and add a lot of delicious flavor and color to your meals. What’s more, is herbs are extremely nutritious! Brightly colored herbs are rich in polyphenols; compounds that act as antioxidants, antimicrobials, and even have anti-inflammatory effects. These important nutrients can help the body fight of disease and keep a body in peak condition. Some herbs have even been used for some medicinal purpose such as aiding in digestion or alleviating nausea. These are the best herbs to grow in your home and some tips of how to use them!
Fresh basil leaves are famous for being added to pesto, caprese salad, and pizza but they are much more versatile than that! Add basil leaves with some fresh dill to scrambled eggs or in sandwiches in place of lettuce. Try chopped basil leaves mixed into salads dressed with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Basil needs a lot of sun to grow and will get quite large if not cut back so keep them in a south facing window and use them regularly! If space is limited, use the smaller, globe variety.
Parsley adds a fresh flavor to many dishes such as baked frittatas, falafel, or tabbouleh to name a few. Chopped parsley is also delicious on roasted vegetables and makes a great green goddess dressing when blended with cilantro, lime, and a ripe avocado. Both parsley and basil will need more watering than most other herbs so make sure you are checking them more frequently than other varieties.
This herb is delicious with anything from meats to vegetables to pasta dishes. Chop the leaves and add them to olive oil and pour over chicken breasts as they pulled from the oven for a delicious flavor combination. Fresh oregano is much milder than dried and should be added to dishes near the end of cooking to retain the best flavor. Oregano is a Mediterranean herb so it will do well with less watering and plenty of sunlight.
Nothing is more refreshing than a glass of ice water infused with cucumber slices and mint leaves. You can also use mint in fruit salads, blended in a sauce for lamb, or to garnish your fancy summer desserts. Try adding a few chopped mint leaves to a bowl of watermelon, feta cheese, and a spritz of lime for a delicious snack. Mint plants can generally handle more shade than other herbs so placing them in a window that gets a little less sun will still yield plenty of mint. Mint can grow unruly quite quickly so harvest consistently!
Fresh thyme is a delicious addition to many dishes as it can be paired with both sweet and savory flavors. Try fresh thyme with pork chops and baked apples or on top of roasted carrots and potatoes. Thyme can also add a freshness to berry compotes or even snuck into berry cobbler! Thyme is more drought tolerant and quite forgiving than other herbs, so it is a great option for people who are new to gardening or know they won’t be very attentive.
Once you’re window garden is flourishing and you aren’t able to keep up with the growth, herbs keep well when frozen in an ice cube tray with a little water. Simply pull out of the freezer and add to dishes, infused waters and smoothies when desired! Fresh herbs will add plenty of flavor and nutrients to your summer meals, while also being a fresh and beautiful garnish. For some inspiration for using fresh herbs, check out the recipes below.
Check our healthy recipes section to spark your inspiration!