Common uses for herbs that you may not even know about.
With about 100 or so known herbs, most people rarely seem to use more than five.
Common uses for herbs.
You may be surprised at how many uses there are for herbs that may already be growing in your garden.
Many of these uses for herbs can also be of help to you and your lifestyle.
Did you read my article How to Build a Small Space Herb Garden?
That article shares how to make a simple and small garden with just a few herbs.
This article may be of help with selecting the herbs that can work in your small herb garden.
You can easily grown herbs in your kitchen with minimal light. Try using a hydroponic herb garden system to grow your kitchen herb garden.
People often ask what is an herb.
Yes, there are different perspectives on what an herb actually is.
What everyone seems to agree on is that herbs are plants that are not vegetables.
Herbs are plants that are used for both aromatic uses and savory uses.
Aromatic uses may include potpourri or using the essential oils to make perfume (or other uses such as for pesticides).
The common savory uses for herbs are seasoning food such as meat, poultry, or fish.
What is the difference between herbs and spices.
Spices and Herbs are terms that are often used interchangeably.
This can be because their culinary uses are similar and they are often packaged together (spice racks...).
There technically is a difference between herbs and spices.
Herbs are plants whose parts (leaves, stems and flowers) used for culinary or aromatic purposes.
Spices on the other hand, come from the roots, the fruit, or even the bark from pants and trees.
The differences in herbs.
Like with other plants, herbs can be perennial or annual plants.
The annuals are the ones that need to be planted yearly while the perennials are the ones that usually come back in the spring.
This differences in the uses for herbs.
Note that herbs can belong to more than one category.
- Food- This is the use of herbs flavoring and garnishing food.
- Aromatic- We use some herbs by drying them out to use as potpourri or for their essential oils.
- Other uses for herbs including Medicinal or display. At one time, herbs were uses for medicianl purposes to 'cure' or 'control' illness. It should be noted that some herbs may interact with supplements or drugs, and that you do your research before taking them for medicinal purposes.
Using herbs for food or culinary purposes.
Herbs of often used as accents in food prep to enhance the flavor or presentation of a dish.
However, herbs, usually leaves, can also be main part of that dish as well.
Here are some common culinary herbs.
Many of these have more than one variety.
- Basil- A popular herb as it is easy to grow and can be used in many recipes.
- Oregano- Another easy to grow herb that is uses in recipes, especially Italian (pizza, pasta, etc).
- Parsley- This herb can be used as a garnish or as part of a recipe (think cilantro in salsa!).
- Chives- Common chives include the onion and garlic flavored. We use chives to make dips and spreads. The flowers are edible and enjoyed by bees and butterflies.
- Thyme- This is an aromatic herb that is also used in soups, poultry, and stuffing (Thanksgiving!).
- Dill- Dill is visually known for its fine leaves. We use dill in dips, salads, and with eggs. The seeds are also used to make pickles.
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How to use herbs for Aromatic purposes.
I am always drying out herbs to make potpourri or to make something or my home smell good.
Some aromatic herbs also make food smell good.
Common aromatic herbs include these.
- Mints - This includes peppermint and spearmint. However, you probably already know what these smell and taste like.
- Rosemary- Because of the look of the stems, rosemary makes for a good accent for food (fish, lamb..) or with a display. You can easily use rosemary in may of your dishes.
- Lemon Balm- A taller plant that can also take over a garden as it spreads. Lemon balm can however, be used in soups or with fish. Also, lemon balm is also used to make tea and jelly.
- Lavender- Specifically English Lavender. This is a popular purple addition to most any garden that can also be dried to add fragrance to homes and drawers.
- Marigold- Yes, the flower. Marigolds are aromatic as they have insect repelling properties. I plant marigolds around my vegetable gardens as rabbits do not enjoy the aroma as well.
- Lemon Verbena- This has a strong scent that is often used as fragrance in hand cream or soap. However, Lemon Verbena can also be used be used in salads, sauces, and jellies.
Medicinal uses for herbs.
You should use caution when using herbs for medicinal purposes.
Do your research and consult a medical professional especially if you are taking medications as there could be negative interactions.
Here are some herbs that have been used for medicinal purposes.
- Cumin- used for digestion problems or as a diuretic.
- Echinacea - You probably know that this is popular ingredient used to treat or prevent colds and the flu.
- Chamomile- You can add chamomile to tea to help you relax or sleep. However, read the packaging or do your research.
- Garlic- Yes, some folks categorize this as an herb. However, garlic is known for its anti-inflammatory and possible cancer and blood pressure effects.
- Ginger- used to treat nausea and motion sickness. Ginger may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects.
- Marjoram- This is often used for runny nose, cough, common cold, other infections, and various digestion problems.
Other uses for herbs
I mentioned a few herbs that may have antioxidant uses.
However, another herb that may have antioxidant benefits is Sage.
Sage is also a popular addition to to fish, poultry, and stuffing recipes.
We all know how much kitties enjoy catnip.
However, catnip really only has that one purpose.
I planted catnip once in my garden and thus, as a result, had all kinds of visitors, despite the watchdogs snoozing in the yard..
Common uses for herbs, includes 20 of the top herbs and the best uses for them. Also, the difference between herbs and spices.