Despite your craving for salt, excessive intake can harm you. Instead, why not consider growing healthy herbs that support wellness–especially circulatory and heart health?
Most of our food wouldn’t taste the same without the savor of salt, a natural source of vital sodium. However, doctors warn that the American diet leans heavily on the salt shaker, leading to obesity, hypertension, and heart problems. These precautions don’t mean you’ll never enjoy tasty meals again.
If you want your food to take a walk on the flavorful side without a lot of extra salt, consider using fresh or dried herbs. Herb plants can make your dishes taste amazing. Unique blends of herbs and spices can boost your meals’ flavor and benefit your health.
Our Ancient Ancestors Relied on Herbs
Herbs are some of the earliest plants cultivated by humans. As our ancestors observed plants that the animals ate, they gathered these plants to see how they tasted. This prehistoric experimentation evolved into the knowledge of roots and herbs for medicinal purposes.
For millennia, cultures around the world depended on herbs for medicine, hygiene, and religious traditions. Much later in history, people found that many herbs lent flavor and delicious aromas to otherwise unpalatable foods. In ancient times, some herbs and spices were so valued that they were used as currency.
No medieval hut was complete without a small kitchen garden, which included several herbs for medicine and cooking. Some of the first herbalists were monks and nuns, who grew sizeable circular herb gardens on their convent grounds. They began the tradition of growing herbs in a circle pattern.
Most native cultures combined their spiritual traditions with the knowledge they collected from nature. According to culture and religion, these learned elders were called medicine people, shamans, and other titles. Throughout Europe and the New World, rootworkers secretly dispensed their herbal wisdom, fearing that they would be falsely accused of practicing witchcraft.
Today, global cuisines are renowned for their unique flavors and blends of herbs and spices. Many home cooks enjoy growing fresh herbs in their kitchen or yard for easy access. Most herb plants are so easy to plant and care for that children can do.
The rootworkers and herbalists of the past instinctively knew what modern science is recently discovering. Many of the herbs used in the kitchen may have many health benefits. Countless studies demonstrate positive associations between these green wonders and good health.
The Difference Between Herbs and Spices
We often use these words interchangeably when we prepare food, but there are marked differences. Herbs are usually tender green plants that can be used fresh or dried for consumption. However, spices typically derive from berries, seeds, or bark of specific trees or woody plants and are prized for their scent and flavors.
Starting an Herb Garden at Home
Do you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs? As you wander down the produce aisle in the grocery store, you’ve probably noticed that fresh herbs are pricey. Once you’ve found how inexpensive and fun growing herbs at home are, you’ll probably never buy them at the store again.
All you need is a bright place in your kitchen, such as a windowsill or along a counter facing natural light. You can purchase seeds or herb plants that are ready to be placed into pots of your choice. Before you buy potting soil, this article may change your mind about traditional herbal planting.
How to Grow Your Favorite Herbs in Water
Maybe you’ve already experimented with growing culinary herb plants in your kitchen. What could be cozier and more inviting than a sunny kitchen windowsill lined with potted herbs? Most popular herb choices are a snap to grow in little containers filled with potting soil.
One of the recent buzzwords for avid gardeners is hydroponics. This unique soil-less system uses water to nourish and grow plants like leafy greens. Did you know you can develop some herb plants in water containers instead of potting soil?
Not every herb is an excellent choice for growing in water. Those produced from seeds must be rooted in potting soil before you start buying herbs to plant in water. Research to see which ones can be done successfully.
Starting to Grow Herb Plants
If you have ever taken the starts of houseplants and rooted them in water, the same process is used for herbs. Use a pair of sterilized scissors to take clippings right about the leaf nodules. Strip lower leaves off and place each cutting in a glass container filled with warm filtered water.
Put your glass containers in a warm place where they will get a lot of indirect natural light. To avoid algae or mold attacks, change the water in each container often. Soon, your herb cuttings will have healthy roots, and you can keep them in their water glasses or plant them in soil.
Just snip off what you need; the herbs will keep growing throughout the season. Herb water gardens are attractive and a definite conversational starter. Here are six common herbs that you might consider increasing.
6 Kitchen Herb Plants to Grow in Water
1. Sweet Basil
Sweet basil is the darling of Mediterranean cuisines, especially Italian. It is native to these warm climates and usually grows as a perennial. The word basil derives from the Latin word royal, an apt description of this lovely herb.
Its thick green leaves have a sweet, peppery taste, making it ideal for pesto or other savory dishes. Basil has many cultivars, each with a unique scent and flavor. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory and can aid in digestive issues.
This fertile member of the onion family grows like a bouquet of grass. They have a mildly sweet onion flavor that is perfect for finishing fish, stews, or vegetables. Sour cream and chives are a perennial pairing that is tasty on baked potatoes.
This herb shares some health benefits with its more pungent cousins, onions, leeks, and garlic. They have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties and may boost your immune system. They can be chopped and consumed fresh or dried.