4 Best Herbs You Haven't Tried

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Joined May 20, 2009
Always had a herb garden and transplant it when I move house. Usually start one at work if possible....grew basil & cherry toms this year & specialed  ensalata Caprese with local mozzarella...sold well but a pain to prep to order when your busy!

Dill...Popular in Scandinavia. I was told this is the only herb that retains full flavour when dried. I use it in Gravlax, Kokoda & Chowder...fish, seafood.

Tarragon...Can't go past Bearnaise...old school but retro...Pumpkin & tarragon soup works.

Marjoram...I thought this was native to Greece & the Mediterraen & that Marjoram was also known as Wild Oregano but it's the other way round. Don't use it much...usually just as garnish.

Sage...I've always associated this with pork & chicken, white meats...this year ran a chicken breast with a pork, pecan & sage stuffing & a cranberry jus(lie)...an Xmas turkey knockoff, went well. Saltimbocca is probably its most stunning use.

What about kaffir lime leaves, anyone into them?....now there's a fragrant herb, great in a rissotto.
 
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Joined Apr 29, 2010
I have a small about 6 foot oval kiddie pool setting on the corner of my back deck. I pulled the drain plug on it and converted it to mostly a herb garden. I have Oregano (golden and greek) Basil, Tyme, Lemon Tyme, Tarragon, Chamomile, Parsley and I'll add a few other in the coming weeks like Marjoram, a lemon cucumber (which trails out on the deck) and an Early Girl Tomato.

Rosmary and Lavender are growing in Cedar pots and mint (spearmint and peppermint) in 5 gallon buckets. Sage and dill are in the actual garden and last year I had a Stevia plant but haven't found one this year yet. I can't say that I use them all effectively and while part off the infrequently used list, of them all I use Rosemary the most and it comes back year after year in the cedar pot. Often I go out and get a spring to shear up on salmon though I do like the dill too on salmon and carrots.

In the summer I step out the back door to the deck and get a fresh tomato, cucumber and some herbs to add into a salad and as the deck is waist high and the pool is at the edge, I can stand on the lawn for any minimal up-keep. The herbs are prolific enough that I give fresh samples to friends to experiment with.
 
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
Disaster here yesterday.  The lawn service thought they were being helpful by taking a weed wacker to all the nasty weeds along the front of the house.  The "weeds" were mint that was just getting good and thick.  We grow lots of herbs and vegetables around the edge of the house interspersed with flowers to keep the neighbors happy.  Needless, to say we told the service to just stick to cutting the grass in future.

One of my favorites is to mix a tbsp each of fresh minced mint, brown sugar and lemon zest and toss it with sauteed carrots.

Rich
 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
like Marjoram, a lemon cucumber (which trails out on the deck) and an Early Girl Tomato.

BCycler, can I ask why Early Girl as your tomato choice?

Almost all the herbs you mentioned are either perennials or self-seeding annuals, so you shouldn't have to replant them each year. The basils are annuals, though. And the parsley is a biennial, so should be replaced every second year.

Rich: The upside, of course, is that it was the mint---which will bounce back pretty quickly. Had it been the basil you'd probably beat the rap as justifiable homicide. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 
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Joined Apr 29, 2010
KyH, I live near Portland, OR,  the growing season is moderate in length and the Early Girls get going a little faster. The plant size works well in the pool though I still do a little trimming and it can try to take over the limited space well into the growing season. The fruit size is smaller to medium which works fine to grab a fresh one for a dinner salad and I've had good luck with the flavor. It produces well once established and I've not had any disease problems, my only complaint is that the skin can be a little thick.

Along with what I put in the garden I usually try a couple of others in 5 gallon buckets (with drainage holes) on the deck but the results haven't been nearly as good. There may be better  the Early Girl (for the purpose) but it's worked well in the past so I keep going back to it but I’m always open to suggestions.  I've rotated the bucket varieties with little improvement so this year I think I’ll try something larger than the 5 gallon container.

The Oreganos never really went away, the Lavender, Parsley and mints did come back, some of the Thyme did too but the Lemon Thyme suffered.  The Marjoram, Basils and Tarragon died off as did the Stevia along with Lemon Balm, the sage returned. It just seems to depend on how much extended cold weather we get. This last winter had stretches of a few days consistently below freezing but it wasn't anything like the previous year. - Gene 
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2004
I have to chime in with three more unusual suspects. Chervil, shiso and epazote. Maybe you know them already. Chervil is like basil, not worth much dried, but it is such a pretty little plant to grow. Shiso is easy as basil and reminds me of a coleus plant, just gorgous in the garden and tastes a bit like cinnamon basil. I haven't tried growing epazote yet. I understand it is much more intense fresh than what you can get dried. Like most herbs, I suppose.
 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Keep in mind that epazote is essentially a dessert plant, so should be grown like the succulents: open, sandy soil, water to a minimum. I've only used it in the dry form, when cooking gassy foods like beans.

Chervil comes and goes in popularity. Right now, I'd say, we're on the down edge of a popularity wave.

I've never used shiso, but have seen it. It's a pretty plant, that's for sure.
 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
BCycler, I grow all sorts of tomatoes in 5-gallon pails. The size, of itself, shouldn't be a hinderance.

Let me suggest a couple of things. First, been my experience that if you put holes in the bottom they tend to clog. Instead, drill holds an inch or two up the sidewalls. That will promote better drainage.

Next, keep in mind that balancing moisture and nutrient requirements is more difficult in any container than it is in the open. Because the bucket tends to dry out faster, you water more frequently. This, in turn, leeches out the nutrients. So you have to fertilize more often.

It's possible those have been your problems???
 
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Joined Sep 16, 2009
though ive heard of all these herbs before... I have yet to use one of them in my cooking!!!
 
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Joined Apr 29, 2010
KYH, I've fretilized, not fertilized, watered more frequently, less frequently but I haven't tried the holes up the side of the bucket and it sound like a good idea!
 
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Joined Jan 12, 2010
Quote:
What about kaffir lime leaves, anyone into them?....now there's a fragrant herb, great in a rissotto.
Growing up in a Vietnamese kitchen we use many herbs, but in a totally different category.  I have recently branched out and tried cooking some basic American favorite type dishes and recently tried parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, and bay leaf.

Kaffir lime leaves are usually associated with chicken in Vietnamese cooking.  My little brother in high school did it for a final and got praise from his teacher.  It's kind of similar to ceviche, but with shredded boiled chicken, lime juice, onion, Vietnamese coriander, kaffier lime leaves, salt and pepper.
 
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Joined May 2, 2010
Tarragon    -   Now it is very strange but regarding Tarragon, love it dried not fresh as to me it tastes of licquorice - takes on a completely diferent flavour dried, simply gorgeous !!

Sage sort of OK  good on roasted potatoes and onions.

Marjoram used to use it cannot now remember the taste.

Dill   I am not fond of at all.

Kaffir Lime is lovely if I dont have any I use dried lime peel.  (use it in Thai green curry)/img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif
 
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
For dinner tonight I did some poached red snapper in a sour cream sauce.  The two major spices used were dill and marjoram, along with a slight bit of salt.  Turned out pretty well.  Could have used some black pepper, but there was a goodly amount of that on the french fries which accompanied the dish.

mjb.
 
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Joined Jun 16, 2007
Speaking of mint, I'm a fan of spearmint in some things, but not peppermint. My favorite use is a spearmint pesto sauce to go with lamb.

Kaffir lime leaves, I've never cooked with, but I had some type of Thai curry with them in it and the flavor was yummmmm.

I'll have to try using fresh dill.
 
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Joined Apr 21, 2009
Koukouvagia - there are 2 kinds of savory, summer is an annual and winter is a perrenial. They taste similar, but winter has more stamina and can last a long time on the heat. I had both last summer in the garden. 

I've been trying to find Mexican oregano for years and haven't been able to. The best I did was to find it dried in a Mexican grocery, and it was pallid. It's a desert shrub that is supposed to taste kind of like oregano, and from what I've heard and read, is a traditional salsa  ingredient. I've been making do with the regular stuff. Anyone ever seen it?

I love dill in a bean salad with feta and lemon. I love fried sage leaves on gnocchi in brown butter. KYHeirloomer, I love tarragon in bernaise, but it is also great with a fish pan sauce. And Marjoram, as has been noted, is boring oregano.

-Matt
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
I think one of the big mistakes people make who didn't grow up with herbs is that they put too much and too many in everything.  If i eat "Italian" anything abroad, it's often so full of herbs they cover the taste of the food itself.  I like herbs used very judiciously.  subtle, so you hardly know what it is.  If you use lots of garlic, you can use lots of oregano - (by the way, in italian it's pronounced "oreegano" and spelled origano - that must have been Julia Child's version)

Sage - i grew up with it - it was used on roast beef, chicken and liver when i was a kid.  If you want a special treat, try sauteeing liver with garlic, sage and plenty of black pepper in olive oil.  I stopped using it on chicken because i find it overpowering for the mildness of chicken.  But with stronger foods it holds its own and sometimes i get a thin slice of beef and cook it like liver, with sage and garlic and pepper, liver style.  yum.  I discovered it also in sage butters and other seasonings that give a surprising touch to dishes. 

Marjoram - I guess i'm one of the few who love it - precisely because it's subtle.  I like subtle.  It goes very well in broth - you don't want your broth to taste of thyme, but the slight hint of thyme is nice,.  I can use marjoram more easily without overpowering it.

Dill - i love dill but they don't sell it here anywhere fresh, and i've tried to grow it year after year and only just a couple of years ago did i get a plant that would last more than two weeks. 

Tarragon - never liked it.  I don't use it.  I guess it;s the liquoriceness of it that i don't like.  I don;t have a revulsion to it like i do to cilantro, but i prefer not to find it in my food.  Strange how tastes are. 
 
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Joined Jan 8, 2010
I got Marjoram in my garden and it grows well here. I tried Oregano, but for some reason or another it doesn't want to perform. So Marjoram it is for me!

I quite often put some on a toasted cheese, onion, tomato sandwich.

Tarragon: Don't really like it, same for Sage. There is just something in the taste I don't like.

I like Dill, but it is difficult to grow here and next to impossible to get fresh.

I use a lot of Basil and Coriander (sorry Cilantro) in my cooking. The different types of Basil can handle the climate although purple basil loses it's colour easily. Coriander is a different matter, certain times of the year, it just bolts. In Thailand I ran into a herb that tastes just like Coriander, but grows totally different so now I'm trying to grow it (Saw tooth herb, aka Mexican Coriander (Eryngium Foetidum))

I got lots of Mint as well. It grows easy. It even survived being under water for 3 months last year!

I use it mainly for Asian food, combined with Basil, Coriander and chives.

I'm looking for a Kaffir lime. Those leaves just add an amazing flavour to dishes!

We got a type of lime here that looks like it although the fruit is a bit bigger and the leaves more elongated. I tried using the leaves, but it's not the same (not nearly as intense). So I'll have to keep on looking.

Besides the above I grow lemongrass and a bit of bird's eye chili's and scotch bonnet.

No vegetables as they will be eaten by the wildlife around here
 

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