There are many possibilities when growing your own Italian herb garden, whether large or small. Growing your own Italian herb garden is an excellent way to spruce up your cooking. Italy is home to some of the most delicious herbs in the world.
What are some popular Italian herbs?
Basil is a well know Italian herb and useful in many Italian recipes. Basil will not only add flavor to many Italian cuisines, it is useful in the garden to other plants. Planting basil next to your peppers and tomatoes will actually improve their flavor. Plus, basil will also repel flies and mosquitoes.
Italian parsley is the flat leaf variety and is popular in Italian cuisine, as well as many others. Parsley is more difficult to grow than other herbs and requires a much richer, nutrient dense soil; however, it’s well worth the effort. Parsley is not only delicious, makes a pretty garnish but is extremely healthy as well. Many generations ago before their were breath mints it was found that eating fresh, raw parsley after a meal eradicated the bad breath left over from enjoying a flavorful cuisine. The tradition arose to serve parsley on a small dish after the meal. The tradition lives today by using parsley as a garnish on a variety of meals.
Oregano is as decorative as it is flavorful. When it is fully mature it will sprout pretty little purple flowers. Oregano should not be harvested until it has flowered because this is when the plant is most flavorful.
Fennel is famous for its seeds that grace and enhance the flavors of Italian sausage. The interesting thing about fennel is that the plant looses its flavor as it matures. It is a perennial plant that should be divided and replanted every few years to savor its flavor.
Rosemary is another herb, like basil, that is essential for every Italian herb garden. It can grow into a shrub and resembles and evergreen tree. Rosemary grows little blue flowers than attract bees. It’s a tough perennial herb, but should be protected from frost. Rosemary has a strong flavor and fragrance, so you need very little for cooking. Try it in your roasted potatoes or meat dishes.
Probably the most used herb in Italian cuisines is garlic. No Italian herb garden would be complete without this useful herb. Garlic cloves can be planted and will thrive in just about any garden with very little attention. They can be stored to be used at a later time after they are harvested by freezing them or pickling them to store in the refrigerator.
Sage is used in a variety of Italian dishes from meats to salads. New shoots of the plant contain the most flavor so it is recommended not to let sage plants to get to woody by keeping them trim. New shoots will be encouraged to grow. Sage can be harvested after it blooms.
These are my recommended herbs you use to start your garden but there are many Italian herbs you can choose from and no need to limit yourself to just these. I like these herbs because they are also fragrant and beautiful growing in your garden.
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