Good food is nothing short of art, and herbs and spices can add a burst of fantastic flavor to it, especially when they’re harvested from your own herb garden, so chemical- and preservative-free. But there’s a standing belief that in order to grow your own herbs you have to have a plot of ground to grow them in, which simply isn’t true. Herbs are hardy and adaptable plants that don’t require a huge amount of ground space in order to produce enough to be used, so I’d like to give you some solid suggestions about where to put them and start growing!
For the apartment dwellers
If you don’t have your own patch of ground to put them on, but you happen to be lucky enough to have a sunroom in your home, this is the perfect place to grow your own selection of herbs. The windows on these rooms bring in copious amounts of natural light, and will let you grow your own herbs and spices all the year round, safe from insect infestations and the moodiness of the weather! Just imagine taking a sprig of fresh marjoram out of your own herb garden, and bringing its burst of flavor to your favorite dish.
If you live in an apartment building, you can often take the planters and hang them from your windows, allowing you to grow a delicious selection of herbs and spices right outside your window. You may only be able to grow a few select varieties in a window, but then again every window can serve as a potential herb garden!
Some apartments and condos will let you grow plants on your balcony. Never underestimate just how much space is available here. You can grow potted plants up against the sides of your balcony. With some growing in carefully secured pots on the railing, and some hanging plants, this doesn’t even have to take up all that much room. In These ways, you can have an entire spice cabinet right outside the nearest window ready to bring your meals alive with flavor!
Some neighborhoods also have growing co-ops, shared pieces of ground where people come together to grow their plants, and each member gets to harvest from the crops. This will allow you a lot more ground, and also have more hands to make it light work. Look into your local community and see if there are people coming together to work on a communal garden, and make new friends and swap recipes along the way!
If all of these options fail you, there is still one potential option open. With an arrangement of full spectrum light bulbs, you can even grow plants in closets! This tends to be a bit more of a financial investment, as the cost of running these bulbs can be prohibitive, but barring that, you may very well find yourself with a flourishing garden hidden in an unused closet or cupboard!
Whatever method you decide on, one thing is indisputable: fresh herbs and spices are the very heart of a meal that contains them, and the difference in flavor between these and the ones you buy dried and jarred in the store is unbelievable!
Make your dishes more nutritious and delicious with your own herbs!
That said, I would now like to share with you one of my favorite recipes, that would not be half as delicious without the freshly picked herbs that go into it. It is very little work, smells incredible, and is low in cholesterol and high in protein, to boot! Who could ask for more?
- 4 trouts, cleaned and gutted
- Sea salt, pepper
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons each fresh coarsely chopped thyme, sage and parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh coarsely chopped basil
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Sweet paprika
- Rinse the fish, then rub salt, some basil and pepper well into each one, inside and out. Divide the remaining herbs evenly and stuff each fish with them. Cover pan or dish with foil wrap, and put in refrigerator for one hour.
- Put garlic though garlic press, then add to softened butter; combine well.
- Put a tablespoon of garlic butter inside each fish and drizzle fish with lemon juice, dust lightly with paprika if desired.
- Wrap each fish tightly in foil wrap and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. If you like, you can tie the fish with a bit of string (not plastic, natural!) to keep them from coming open when you wrap them in foil.
- Unpack each fish carefully, serve with a slice of lemon, a baked potato and a simple cherry tomato salad.