We are often asked what are the best or most popular cooking herbs, and although we can generalise the answer will differ from cuisine to cuisine. The culinary herbs that would be popular in Indian cooking will differ from what will be a favourite in French Cuisine. And when we put in spices with herbs the difference is more pronounced.
Standout herbs used in cooking around the world
So for Indian cooking we would be looking at Herbs such as : Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Spearmint, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme and of course, saffron, cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, pepper and turmeric.
In France the list is similar
Bay Leaf, Dill. Basil, Chives, Chervil, Majoram, Pepper, Mint, Parsley, Tarragon and Thyme being major players.
We could look at some of the more ‘exotic’ cooking herbs and here we move to Australia where Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata), Wattleseed (Acacia victoriae) Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) and Dorrigo Pepper (Tasmannia stipitata) are finding uses in restraints around the country as well as being used in cheeses and herb rubs for meat. And of course the Native citrus (Citrus australasica) is also widely used.
Best Cooking Herbs to grow
So what about a basic list of widely used herbs for the kitchen. According to taste, but we use the following regularly, but often in small amounts, so we grow them :
All of these are you can cut some off and they will keep growing. Chives will die back in winter as will some of the others, however they are all easy to grow and hardy. To our mind the herbs that you use often and in small amounts are the ones to grow, instead of buying a bunch of thyme and using 1/3, just pick what you need for cooking at the time.
All of these can be grown in pots or planter boxes, so even in a small terrace house, or an apartment with a sunny balcong you can grow your own basic cooking herbs.
Then we have the herbs we like to use lots of, and for us that is Basil, we use huge amounts in pesto and without doubt the fresh home grown basil is the best, so we reserve a fair amount of space in the herb garden for basil.
And as for other useful plants for the kitchen garden, a lemon tree would be our number one, and maybe a bay tree, we do us the leaves often when cooking.