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The Top 10 Herbs as selected by HSA Members

  • Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
    Basil is used in salads (tuna, green, potato or egg), use with fresh tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, in marinades or pesto. Works well in combination with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Try basil on a sandwich of whole wheat bread with tomatoes and mayonnaise.
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  • Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
    Thyme is used in chicken broth and stuffing, marinades for meet or fish, lamb, veal, sauces, soups or egg dishes, often used in partnership with tomatoes, works well in oils and butters. Lemon thyme (T. x citriodorus) can be used with fish, in tea and in salad dressings.
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  • Bay (Laurus nobilis)
    Bay leaf is added at the beginning of cooking soups and stews and inparts a deep rich flavor. The leaf is left whole so it can be retrieved prior to searing. Fresh leaves are stronger than dried.
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  • Common Sage (Salvia officinalis)
    Sage is used in sausage, poultry, stuffing, pork, lamb, seafood, vegetables, breads and is used as a spice rub for pork shops or pork tenderloin. It is also frequently used in salads.
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  • Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
    Oregano is used in soups, casseroles, sauces, stews, stuffings, eggs, tomato-based dishes, chili and pizza.
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  • Chives (Alliums schoenoprasum)
    Chives are used in vinegars, soft cheeses, salads, used as garnish, leaves work well in butter and oils.
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  • Dill (Anethum graveolens)
    Dill seeds are often combined with onions, cabbage, potatoes, cumin, chili powder, paprika. Seeds can be added to casseroles, lamb, fish, vegetable dishes and sauces. Chopped or whole dill weed can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, meat dishes, pasta, eggs and used to enhance sauces, dips, butters and cheeses.
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  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
    Parsley is used in soups, stews, gravies, salads, meat and potatoes, used as a garnish and a breath freshener. Be generous with this herb in tomato dishes.
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  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
    Rosemary is used with lamb, venison, poultry, soups, stews, fish, tomatoes sauces, vegetables, marinades, and can be used as skewers for vegetables and meats on the grill, works well in a trio with sage and thyme or garlic and thyme, tastes great on steamed red potatoes or peas.
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  • Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
    Lavender is used inbeverages, is an ingredient in herbes de Provence blends and in a variety of sweet dishes. Lavendula angustifolia is best for culinary use and the flowers should be harvested just prior to opening and dried before use.
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Celebration Selection of Herb Seeds: The Top 10 Herb Seeds

Summer Savory photoSummer Savory
Summer savory boasts a warming, peppery scent and taste. One of the essential ingredients in Herbs de Provence (along with rosemary, thyme, and oregano), summer savory is also wonderful alone to season beans, meats and stuffings. The plant forms single stems 4-15 inches tall that are lined with linear dark green leaves up to 4 inches long. Whorls of lilac-purple flowers appear in summer. Plant spreads 7-30 inches. Sow in a well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun. Pick both leaves and flowers all summer to use fresh or dried.

Sorrel photoSorrel
120 days. One of the most useful of pot herbs, Sorrel offers a tangy, slightly sour bite. High in oxalic acid, it is a nutritious and palate-cleansing herb. The large, arrow-shaped leaves can be picked continuously as needed from spring through fall. Easy to grow in full sun to part shade and deep, rich soil, it reaches 16 to 24 inches tall and about 15 to 18 inches wide.

Parsley Italian Plain Leaf photoParsley Italian Plain Leaf
Specially developed for use as fresh seasoning, the large, bright green leaves arise on 10-to 12-inch plants.

Flat-leafed Parsley is far more nutritious than the curly type. Harvest it as needed, but fairly regularly so that the plants keep sprouting new stems. In mild climates, you can continue to cut it throughout winter.

Basil Thai Siam Queen photoBasil Thai Siam Queen
Thai Siam Queen --A 1997 AAS winner, Basil Thai Siam Queen is as gorgeous in the garden as it is delicious on the dinner plate! The sturdy stems support extra-large, 4-inch-long and 2-inch-wide bright green leaves. Clusters of short terminal racemes of purple flowers are borne on the very top of the plant for a highly ornamental effect.

Basil Large Leaf Italian photoBasil Large Leaf Italian
Basils are loaded with volatile oils, responsible for the heady aroma and strong flavor so essential to cooking. The composition of oils varies greatly in different basil types, thus accounting for the wide range of scents available. Regarded as the essential variety for true Neapolitan cuisine, especially pesto, this Genovese-type basil grows 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 15 inches wide. The dark green, shiny leaves grow up to 3 inches long on a tall, erect plant that is slow to bolt.

Basil Mrs. Burns' Lemon photoBasil Mrs. Burns' Lemon
60 days. A lemon flavor of mouth-puckering intensity! This heirloom cultivar offers larger leaves (2 1/2 inches long) and more tangy flavor than regular lemon basil. It loves hot dry summers. Pinch off the pink flowers as they arise to encourage even more side shoots. 18 to 24 inches high, 12 to 24 inches wide.

Cilantro Santo photoCilantro Santo
The strong, zesty scent of this annual herb is unmistakable! Slow-growing, Santo allows you to harvest just the amount you need over a long, long season. And after the flowers pass, let them go to seed and collect the seeds for use as Coriander!

Calendula photoCalendula
Both the petals and the leaves are edible on this useful herb. It repels destructive insects very effectively, so it's essential to the vegetable garden. And it sets lovely 2-to 3-inch yellow blooms just great for cutting, so it's needed in the annual bed and the cutting garden. Best in full sun in the north, afternoon shade in the south and southwest, it flowers heavily in spring and, if cut back in midsummer, repeats in fall! Depending on climate, expect it to reach 15 to 30 inches high and wide.

Borage photoBorage
Plant this herb for the ornamental value of its starry purple-blue flowers, to attract beneficial insects to your garden, and to harvest for teas and other summer drinks. Plants self-sow freely, so you can enjoy more plants next year! Pkt is 100 seeds. Qty 1 Pkt Seeds.

Fernleaf Dill photoFernleaf Dill
If you love the tangy flavor of fresh Dill weed with fish and vegetable dishes, Fernleaf Dill is the variety you MUST grow! Just 18 inches high, it's perfect for the kitchen windowsill or the sunny garden. Its feathery leaves are so lush and tasty that this hardworking little plant won a 1992 All-America Selection. Easy to grow and delicious!

Fernleaf Dill blooms from midsummer into fall, with flattopped blooms that may remind you of Fennel. You don't have to wait to harvest the leaves, however --snip them with nail or kitchen scissors as soon as the plant has a few branches to spare, and enjoy them fresh for months on end! In the garden, Fernleaf Dill is a nice companion to cabbage, onion, and lettuce.