Herb Information

Popular Varieties

Herb Height Description Culture Harvest Use
Pimpinella anisum
20-23" Serrated leaves, small white flowers. Low spreading plant is a slow growing annual. Moderately rich soil. Likes full sun. Space 6-8 in row with rows 12-13 in. apart. When Seeds turn brown, or use leaves while green if needed. Seed-pastries, candy, cookies, beverages, meats, soups
Leaves-salad or garnish
Ocimym basilicum
20-24" Leafy, light green foliage; flowers white or lavendar. Fast growing annual. Start seed indoors in early April or seed in early spring. Space 12". Prefers protected sunny location. Harvest leaves when flowering begins. Cut plants 4-6" above ground. Leaves-soups, stews, omelets, salads, meats, sauces
Borago officinaliss
20-24" Coarse, rough, hairy leaves. Produces light blue flowers in drooping clusters. Seed directly in early spring. Space 12" apart. Seeds may be slow to germinate. Harvest the young leaves and dry, or cook fresh like spinach. Leaves-salads, greens
Flowers and leaf tips-pickles, soups, stews
Carum carvi
12-24" Carrot-like leaf with small creamy white flowers Seed directly in spring and located in full sun. Space 6" apart. Harvest leaves when mature. Seeds will form midway through second season. Leaves-garnish
Seeds-breads, cakes, soups, sauces, salads
Anthriscus cerefolium
18" Similar to parsley with light gree lacy leaves. Flowers are small white clusters. Sow seed in moist, partially shaded located. Space 6" apart. Harvest mature leaves and dry or use directly for garnishes. Leaves-salads, soups,meats, poulty, garnishes
Coriandrum sativum
36" Large, coarse plant with white flowers. Sow seeds directly. Use full sun area and thin to 10". Harvest seeds when they begin to turn brown. Seeds are generally used crushed. Seeds-pastries, sauces, pickles, liquors
Anethum graveolens Photo
24-36" Tall plant with feathery green leaves. Open umbrella-shaped Flower heads. Seed directly and then to 12". If seeds mature and fall, they will come up again next year. Harvest mature seed heads before seeds drop. May use small leaves as well. Sprigs of seed head or seeds-pickles, breads, sauces, meats, salads, vinegars
Leaves-sauces, dips, fish, flavoring
Foeniculum vulgare
36" Fine feathery leaves with broad, bulb-like leaf base. Sow in early spring and thin to 12". Harvest either young sprigs and leaves or seeds. Sprigs-soups
Seeds-soups, breads
Petroseelinum crispum
5-6" Curled or plain dark green leaves May be slow to germinate. Seed in early spring. Space 6-8". Harvest mature leaves as needed. Leaves-garnish
Sweet Marjoram
Majorana hortensis
12" Fine textured plant with white flowers Start seedlings in shade. Mature plants will grow in full sun. Space 8-10". Harvest mature leaves. Leaves-salads, soups, dressings
Summer Savory
Satureja hortensis
18" Small, gray-green leaves with purple and white flowers Plant tender annual after danger of frost. Space 6-9" apart. Harvest mature leaves. Leaves-salads, soups, dressings, poultry
Allium schoenoprasum
12" Onion-type leaves with blue round flower head Can be grown in containers or outdoors in spring. Divide to increase. Space 5" apart. Clip leaves as needed. Leaves-omelets, salads, soups, sauces, dips
Carum carvi
12-24" Carrot-like leaf with small creamy white flowers Seed directly in spring and located in full sun. Space 6" apart. Harvest leaves when mature. Seeds will form midway through second season. Leaves-garnish
Seeds-breads, cakes, soups, sauces, salads
Garlic Chives
Allium tuberosum
12-16" Similar to chives. Can be grown in containers or outdoors in spring. Divide to increase. Space 5" apart. Clip leaves as needed. Substitue for garlic flavor.
Mentha piperita
18" Vigorous bush-type plant with purple flowers. Prefers rich, moist soil. Space 8-10" apart. Harvest young or mature leaves. Leaves-soups, sauces, tea, jelly
Sprigs-tea, sauces, summer drinks
Mentha spicata
18" Pointed, crinkled leaves Prefers rich, moist soil. Space 8-10" apart. Harvest young or mature leaves. Leaves-summer drinks, tea, mint sauce
Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis
24" Crinkled, dull green leaves with white blossoms. Vigorous grower Space 12" apart. Prefers full sun. Harvest mature leaves. Leaves-soups, meats, tea, summer drinks
Levisticum officinale
24-36" Grows quite tall. May start indoors and move to sunny location. Space 12-15" apart. Harvest mature leaves. Substitute for celery flower
Origanum vulgare
24" Choose English strains. Produces pink flowers. Plant in rich soil. Space 8-10" apart. Start in protected location and move to full sun. Harvest mature leave. Leaves-soups, meats (roasts), stews, salads
Rosmarinus officinalis
36" Dark green foliage with small blue flowers Start cuttings in early spring. Space 24" apart. Harvest mature leaves. Leaves and sprigs-meats, sauces, soups
Dried leaves-sachets to hang in closets with garments
Salvia officcinalis
18" Shrub-like plant with grey-green leaves and purple flowers. Plant in well drained location. Space 30" apart. Harvest leaves before flowering. Leaves-meats, poultry, tea, fish, dressing, stews
Artemisia dracunculus
24" Select French tarragon. Fine, dark green leaves Prefers well drained soils. Space 12" apart. Harvest mature leaves or sprigs. Leaves-salads, sauces, eggs, vegetables, salad vinegars
Thymus vulgaris
8-12" Narrow, dark green leaves Start seeds indoors. Prefers full sun and well drained soils. Space 10-12" apart. Harvest leaves and flower clusters before first flowers open. Leaves-soups, salads, dressings, omelets, gravies, breads, vege

Some health benefits of using herbs in your everyday cooking

Health Boost: Can lower blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Aim for one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day.
br> Get Cooking: Dip berries or bananas in low-fat sour cream, then in a mix of 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Health Boost: Contains curcumin, which can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Try to have 500 to 800 milligrams a day, says Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, a professor of cancer medicine at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Get Cooking: For an Indian flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric to water when cooking 1 cup rice.

Health Boost: Stops gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to the blood vessels that raise heart attack risk.

Get Cooking: For a delicious chicken rub, combine 2 teaspoons rosemary leaves with 2 teaspoons seasoning salt and 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves.

Health Boost: Destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells, says Karen Collins, RD, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. "Studies suggest that one or two cloves weekly provide cancer-protective benefits."

Get Cooking: "Let garlic sit for 10 to 15 minutes after chopping and before cooking so the active form of the protective phytochemicals develops," says Collins. Saute fresh garlic over low heat and mix with pasta, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese.

Health Boost: Contains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer (also found in cayenne and red chili peppers). There's no specific recommended dose, but moderation is probably the best way to go.

Get Cooking: Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme and 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper to liven up popcorn.

Health Boost: Can decrease motion sickness and nausea; may also relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Doses used in clinical trials range from 500 to 2,000 mg of powdered ginger. (A quarter-size piece of fresh root contains about 1,000 mg.) More than 6,000 mg can cause stomach irritation. Ginger can also hinder blood clotting, so if you're about to have surgery or are taking blood thinners or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor first.

Get Cooking: For motion sickness, try having one or two pieces of crystallized, or candied, ginger. Make sure ginger is listed as an ingredient; some candied products or ginger ales contain a small amount or a synthetic form. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger to vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as fresh fruit (especially peaches).

Health Boost: A USDA study found that, gram for gram, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity of 27 fresh culinary herbs.

Get Cooking: To spice up tomato soup, add 3/4 teaspoon oregano to 1 can; add 1/2 teaspoon to 2 cups pasta or pizza sauce. Substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano for 2 teaspoons fresh.