It is often an issue to buy certain herbs from to supermarket, only to use it for the making of a particular dish or two and then having to throw them away due to their short shelf life as they typically last up to a few days. Over time, it can lead to the wastage of both food and money, which is definitely not what we want. However, did you know that you can easily grow these herbs right in your own home?
Many of them do not require special care to survive and grow, and by planting your own herbs, you save yourself money as well as time from making trips to the supermarkets. The best thing is you will have an abundance of these herbs, all fresh and organic. Pluck them off their stems right before adding them to your dish!
There are a few types of basil, such as sweet basil, lemon basil and Thai basil. Each variety gives a different touch of flavour to your dish and grows well in Singapore’s sunny weather. Harvesting them regularly also helps them to grow better. If you have more than enough, put them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer to keep its flavour.
Basil can be considered as one of the most versatile herbs in the culinary aspect. Use sweet basil in your pesto sauce for pasta or as a topping for your homemade pizza, Thai basil in stir fry dishes such as Pad Kra Pao (Thai Basil Pork) and Vietnamese Pho, and lemon basil in your tea.
Like basil, mint also comes in different types like spearmint, apple mint and peppermint. They do not require a lot of care to grow; simply keep the soil light and moist and they can spread easily. While you can freeze them before using, mints are best consumed fresh as young leaves are more flavourful.
Mint goes well with mutton and makes a good garnish for desserts. You can also add them to your beverage for a refreshing flavour. Apart from culinary uses, mint also offers other benefits. The natural aroma of mint can help to relieve headaches and nausea. Chewing on mint leaves also helps to fight bad breathe and improve oral health!
Parsley can take a while to grow out, but once it does, it is actually really easy to maintain. It is slightly peppery in flavour and is often used as a garnish to brighten up the dish, both in presentation and taste.
Apart from using it as a garnish, we also recommend making dried parsley so it is more versatile and lasts longer. Simply dry your parsley by roasting them in the oven, and then crush them using a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle the dried herb over your stew or pasta.
Rosemary needs a lot of sunlight and little water to grow, so it tends to develop well in Singapore’s warm and humid climate. After harvesting, air-dry them and keep in an airtight container to store.
Rosemary has a woody aroma and is often used in meat dishes. You can also make rosemary tea with its leaves, and consuming it brings you numerous health benefits such as lowering your blood sugar level and improving brain health.
Lemongrass grows well in Southeast Asia because it loves the sun. It usually takes a few months before you can start harvesting it, but once it gets to that stage, it will start propagating. Eventually you may have a large supply of lemongrass so we suggest sharing it with friends and family. Even if you do not have the time or patience to grow it from a seed, simply put a stalk of lemongrass in water and let it grow from there before transferring them to a pot.
Lemongrass is widely used in Thai dishes such as the classic Tom Yum soup and steamed seafood. You can also make lemongrass tea to help relieve your senses.
You can plant coriander in Singapore, but place it in a shady corner as it grows better in cool temperatures. When harvesting, take note that the stems have a stronger flavour compared to the leaves. They should also be consumed as fresh as possible as they lose their flavour over time, or if they become dry.
Coriander is often used as a garnishing for dishes. Only a small amount is used each time due to its strong, pungent smell and taste which can be overpowering.
Oregano grows easily as a seed, and does not need a lot of water to grow. Trimming and harvesting regularly will help the plant to grow better. Oregano can be used fresh or dried, although the latter works better. You can also store the fresh ones by freezing them. This herb is often found in Italian recipes for your pizza and pasta sauces.
Now that you know these herbs can be easily grown at home, set up your own mini garden at a sunny corner of your house and enjoy them in your dishes!