Savory and potent herbs make Italian cuisine both tasty and famous. Nothing can compare to the fine seasonings found in Italian herb gardens. Open up the soul of the chef within you by growing Italian herbs.
Basil is a well know Italian herb and useful in many Italian recipes. Basil will not only add flavour 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 flavour. Plus, basil will also repel flies and mosquitoes.
Do you eat that little green sprig on the edge of your plate in a nice restaurant? That is parsley, but it is also known for its contribution in cooking various Italian dishes. Parsley, when eaten after a meal is helpful for digestion and it also will freshen the breath. That is the reason that parsley makes an appearance either in a small side dish, or on a dinner plate, or tucked into salads. It is also cooked in many Italian dishes. Oregano is beautiful, with pretty purple flowers growing in the herb garden. Your cue to harvest oregano in your Italian herb garden is seeing the flowers. That is the time that the flavour is the best in your oregano.
Fennel is most widely known as a seed used to impart that distinctive flavour to Italian sausages and sauces. As the perennial plant matures the flavour becomes less pronounced so in your herb garden you will want to regularly divide the root stock and replant the fennel bulbs. That will help maintain the unique Italian flavour.
Like basil, rosemary is an Italian herb that is beneficial to the garden. It grows into a large shrub that spouts pretty little blue flowers. It helps the garden by attracting bees. Although it is a tough evergreen perennial, it is sensitive to frost.
Garlic is quite likely the universal herb and is an essential part of an Italian herb garden. Plant garlic cloves in most soils and ignore them, they still will yield good harvest. Harvest the bulbs, and store them in the refrigerator, in vinegar or in oil. Braid the stems and make an artisan looking chain to hang in your kitchen.
Sage, is a very old and traditional herb that is found in meats, and salads and side dishes. Sage tea is soothing to the stomach. New growth from the plant has the best taste, and will add the most to your dishes. Keep the woody growth cut back so that you will continue to have those tender shoots. Harvest sage after it blooms. Use it throughout the growing season, without trimming back the entire plant.
Although there are so many more herbs that can be included in an Italian herb garden, you really should consider which herbs you will use. Think about the growing conditions each plant needs and consider whether or not you can provide them. Yes, Italian herbs add flavour to food but they should also be looked at as more then that. They also make amazing additions to landscape designs. They can be displayed for colour and their aroma. By planting Italian herbs amongst other plants, you will be graced with the sweet aromas straight from Italy. It will be like taking a stroll on a Italian hill side.