Why Should You Use Fresh Herbs? Let Me Count The Ways.

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If there is one thing I can rely on in the summer,  it is fresh herbs from my garden. While some things bolt on me (such as ALL of my broccoli the other week) and others take their sweet time to grow (tomatoes, anytime you want to produce, go right ahead!) my herbs are ever reliable.

I have a large variety of herbs in my garden.  From the more common Italian parsley and bright emerald basil to the more unique and delicious lemongrass, it is in my garden.  Dill, sage, fennel, oregano, peppermint, ginger mint, lemon mint, pineapple mint, Thai basil, cilantro, lavender, spicy arugula.  Have I remembered everyone?  I love them all.

But love is not always enough.  I have good reason for cultivating these beauties.  Here's five reasons why:

Herbs have superior nutrition.  I am not just a gardener, I am a nutritionist first and what I eat has to count.  Each herb has specific vitamin and mineral profiles, but for the most part, almost all herbs have superior anticancer, anti-inflammatory and healthy heart properties. It makes so much sense then to include herbs into meals everyday.

They undoubtedly flavor food. There are some reasons to believe in the power of the universe and the lovely taste of herbs are one of them.  Herbs in my kitchen get used in every meal I prepare: parsley in my morning eggs, basil rolled into my wraps, cilantro in my pesto, sage and oregano on my roasted chicken.  They make food go from blah to wow and make dishes sing.

They brighten my hydration. Clients and friends have been asking me lately what is in the large glass mason jar that I keep carrying around with me. Every morning  I fill my jar with filtered water and a combination of fresh herbs of my liking.  Lately I have been using dill, basil and mint with lemon slices in my drink.  Another good combination is So refreshing!cilantro/basil/mint with lime or mint with cucumber.  They flavor water very quickly and makes it refreshing and so drinkable!

They make your garden smell good.  Is there anything better than snapping off a sprig of peppermint, or a fresh lemongrass and breathing deep.  The smell of fresh herbs makes you feel good and peaceful.

They make great container plants. Every container around my house is filled with herbs.  I go through so much of some herbs, such as parley and basil, that it is insurance that I will have as much as I need.  And they look pretty too.

How do you use herbs from your garden?  What herbs do you grow?  Let me know in the comment below!

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Heather Carey, M.S.

Culinary Nutritionist

 

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