Top 10 Herbs and Spices for Your Frugal Garden

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Herbs are expensive. When purchasing them dried in their little bottles or canisters, you don’t know exactly how old they are. When purchasing them organic, they still may not always the freshest. And just because something says it is organic, doesn’t mean there isn’t something added that is not. It’s tough to buy things and know exactly what you are getting.

Growing herbs in your frugal garden is inexpensive, gives you fresh herbs much of the year, and allows you to keep them knowing they will be replaced each harvest season, giving you the freshest preserved meal add-ins possible. Most are easy to grow within the home year-round, allowing for fresh herbs when needed.

These starter herbs will give you quite the garden, and help you to save a lot of money at the grocery store.

  1. Basil: A wonderful culinary herb, basil comes in several varieties. Italian and Asian cuisines often feature this beauty.  While it’s common to grow and use sweet basil, other types will be worth consideration. Lemon basil, spicy globe and red ruben, for instance.  Preserve basil in the freezer or in oil, or add to pesto for freezing in ice-cube trays.
  2. Chamomile: This herb makes a great tea, and is often used for aiding minor sleep problems. German and Roman types of this herb are popular, though there are others to choose from. Harvest chamomile just before the flowers are in full bloom, and preserve them by drying or freezing.
  3. Chives: A member of the onion family, chives add complimentary flavor to potatoes and other foods. The flowers are tasty in salads.  Grow both the common variety and garlic chives, as they are both easy. Cut to 2 inches from ground level one to three times a year, and they’ll continue to provide wonderful harvests until autumn.
  4. Dill: Used when making pickles, and in many other recipes, this herb makes a wonderful addition to any herb garden. While used as an herb by many of us, dill seeds are actually considered a spice. Preserve by freeze-drying, but use within a few months.
  5. Fennel: A perennial herb with small, yellow flowers fennel is both flavorful and aromatic, and the dried seeds are considered a spice. The bulb of this plant has many nutrients, including folate and calcium, and is referred to as  a root vegetable. Preserve fennel either by drying or freezing, or consider making an herb vinegar for flavoring salads throughout the winter.
  6. Garlic: Also a member of the onion family, garlic is known for helping with many known health issues. As a culinary herb, it’s used in a variety of dishes including soups and pasta. The bulb, flower, leaves, and head are all edible, though the bulb has the best flavor. To preserve, use varieties that keep well into the winter. Consider a type of garlic that can be braided and hung in the kitchen or pantry.
  7. Lavender: The flowers of this herb are often candied, and are often used in cake decorating. Teas are also made with this herb. Harvest once the flowers have turned purple, and preserve by drying.
  8. Mint: This aromatic herb helps with stomach issues, and has culinary uses. It’s added to teas and soups, and makes great jelly. Preserve by drying, in jelly or syrup, or by freezing.
  9. Rosemary: A perennial herb, rosemary has needle-like leaves that look something like pine needles. This is a highly aromatic herb that is used when barbecuing, and in a number of other types of recipes. And it provides the body with calcium and iron. Hang rosemary in small bundles in the kitchen to always have on hand. Dry the herb and place it in canning jars for winter use.
  10. Sage: An excellent aroma, and very tasty. Add to soups and stews, and roasted dinners. Sage is often preserved in an herb vinegar, for use throughout the year. It can also be preserved by freezing or drying.

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Categories: Food Gardening

Author:Shannon L. Buck

Hi all! My name is Shannon. I'm a single mother of two young adult daughters and a Memay to one precious Little Man. I work as a writer from my home in Orono, Maine, and as a Front Desk Agent at an inn in Bangor. Writing is my life, second only to my daughters and grandson. I enjoy writing nonfiction, as well as fiction in a number of genres.

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