No matter how tiny your apartment or how limited your time, you can make room for a miniature window herb garden. A few decorative pots and a little sunlight, and you've got fresh herbs whenever you want them, year round. But which are the best herbs to grow? Here are the ones that'll look, smell and taste best, and give you the most for your tiny herb garden investment.
The classic windowsill herb, basil is an eternal favorite for plenty of reasons. First, its curled green leaves and long stalks make pretty window dressing. Second, basil is best when fresh, and makes an excellent addition to a wide variety of dishes. But the real clincher is that basil can be fragile, requiring even moisture and light, and often performs much better indoors than in the garden.
What to do with it: Fresh Pesto over Pasta; Basil, Grape and Plum Goat Cheese Pizza; Melon & Fig Salad with Basil Cream; Fresh Organic Basil Oil.
Fresh mint leaves add amazing flavor to everything from a cup of tea to a cupcake. Unlike basil, mint is very easy to grow and will offer you large yields of fresh-smelling, delicately textured leaves year round. Mint comes in a wide range of flavors, from the standard (and my favorite) spearmint, to chocolate mint, to pineapple mint! Experiment and find the flavor you love most.
What to do with it: Fresh Organic Chocolate Mint Ice Cream; Blueberry-Mint Limeade; Mint Juleps; Vegan Mojito Cupcakes; DIY Bug Spray. Or brew your leaves in hot water for a stomach- and nerve-soothing tea.
That's right, stevia is a plant, and one you can easily grow at home! Its serrated leaves are very sweet when chewed or brewed. Add them to your tea and coffee, or anything that needs a little sweetness. When your plant starts to flower, yank up the entire thing and hang it upside down to dry. Later, you can grind the dried leaves into your very own stevia powder to use as a homemade, unprocessed sugar substitute.
What to do with it: Superfood Chocolate Candy; Autumn Spiced Popcorn; Mojitos!
Silvery sage will make your entire house smell amazing, and if you believe the hype, can also cleanse your home's energies. The fresh leaves release a summery, peppery odor and flavor that pairs amazingly with rich dishes. Sage is another herb that comes in a wide variety of colors and scents, so try a few until you find your favorite.
What to do with it: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage; Cranberry-Sage Brown Butter; Candied Sage; Sage Sore Throat Remedy.
Diminutive, unassuming thyme gets overlooked far too often. Its tiny leaves, either used as sprigs or chopped and crumbled into baked goods, release a light and lemony flavor that pairs with sweet and savory foods. It's also a trendy addition to summer cocktails, adding a new dimension to fruity fascinators. Save your dried thyme for herb rubs, and let the fresh leaves shine in their own light!
What to do with it: Spring Thyme Salmon; Fresh Herbed Goat Cheese; Champagne Wild Mushroom Fondue; Artemis Flower Cocktail; Fig Thyme Cocktail.
Photo: Jess Pac.
Follow Jessica Reeder on Facebook and Twitter.