Choosing which fresh herbs to grow will depend on your personal needs. Whether you are starting an herb garden, planting a few herbs in a container or growing them indoors, there are many reasons to choose the ones you do. Herbs can be used in a number of ways, from culinary to medicinal. Popular culinary herbs include thyme, rosemary, mint, sage and oregano.
Mint is one of the most popular fresh herbs to grow, but it can be invasive. Growing mint in a container instead of the ground will help you control it. The flowers should be removed before they go to seed so the mint does not self-sow.
Use fresh mint in tea or summer coolers, desserts and even vegetables. Add mint sprigs to strawberries or dice some up and toss it in your peas during the last five minutes of cooking. A single sprig of mint added to ice water or tea can make the drink seem more refreshing, especially on a hot summer afternoon.
There are numerous varieties of mint plants to choose from including chocolate mint, banana mint, ginger mint, spearmint, peppermint, orange mint, pineapple mint, apple mint and candy mint.
Oregano is one of several essential fresh herbs to grow if Italian food is something you cook from scratch often. Add fresh or dried oregano to pizza dough, bread or biscuit dough, tomato sauces or make your own homemade Italian seasoning with it.
Oregano is easy to grow. Simply choose a sunny spot, plant the herb, water and harvest before it goes to flower. Harvest no more than one-third of the plant as you need it, or wait until you begin to see flower buds forming, then harvest it all at once. To preserve oregano, use a dehydrator or an oven set on low to dry it. Another option is to hang the plants, stems and all, or lay them on a drying rack until they are dry.
When choosing an oregano plant, be sure to smell it. There are many varieties of oregano on the market. The variety known as "hot 'n spicy" is one of the most pungent. Ask how the herbs were grown. If the plants were grown using natural and organic methods, taste the leaf to see if the flavor suits you.
There are many varieties of sage, but two of the most popular varieties of fresh herbs to grow are pineapple sage and common sage, which is also known as garden sage. If adding sage to dressing at holiday time is your intent, choose garden sage.
Pineapple sage is a popular herb because of its pineapple-scented leaves, and because the bright red flowers attract hummingbirds. This variety is also edible. Try using the leaves to flavor pork meat.