Now that we are full into the season of Spring that means that we are experiencing longer days, warmer weather, and better produce! It is amazing how much better the strawberries taste this time of year and it gets you excited about anticipating other fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have the space and the sunlight, maybe you plant your own garden so you can have fresh produce right out your own backyard. If not, there is something that you can use your green thumb to plant that will get you excited about the summer produce.
You don’t need a big backyard to plant your own herb garden! You can get several small containers or plant various herbs in one larger container. This is an inexpensive garden that you can nurture and reap all the benefits of its products over a few months. Herb gardens tend to be low maintenance and don’t take as long to grow compared to fresh vegetables. Some of my favorites to plant each year include rosemary, mint, oregano, basil, and cilantro. Each year, I find that I cook with more herbs when I have them growing right off my back porch compared to any other time of the year.
You can use the fresh rosemary with some olive and garlic to season a pork tenderloin that you grill. Remember that rosemary has a strong taste so you don’t need a lot as its flavor will go a long way. I love my mint that I grow! You have to be careful because it is one of those plants that will take over the planter box so you might consider planting it separately. You can use the mint in your water to give it a different flavor or top your fresh fruit salad with it.
Oregano and basil are some of the basic herbs included with Italian dishes so you can use the oregano with olive oil and garlic to season chicken for the grill. One of my favorite things to use fresh basil for in the summertime is bruschetta. I will use some of the awesome fresh tomatoes that I pick up from the Farmers Market, my fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to make a light summertime appetizer or dish to take to a cookout.
Lastly, cilantro is a great herb to include with your fresh salsa (good way to use fresh tomatoes too) or with any Mexican dishes such as fresh guacamole or fish tacos. Cilantro is also a compliment to a variety of cold salads such as bean salad or quinoa salad. Throw together some of the ingredients that you have in your refrigerator, add some fresh cilantro, and toss with a favorite vinaigrette and you are set to go. It’s not too late to start your own herb garden so you can enjoy the flavors of fresh herbs all summer long.