An Introduction to Herbs
At Sherries you can find an assortment of quality herbs selected from all around the Mediterranean region. In this video we are showcasing the most popular choices, watch it for pointers and interesting facts about these plants.
Mint is a hardy, easy to care for plant. It’s fragrant, fast-growing, green, and complements fruits, vegetables and meats.
To grow mint, simply put the plant in a semi-sunny area and water frequently. It’s important to keep the soil moist, especially in Summer. Make sure to trim it to keep it from overgrowing. By trimming the top you will encourage more leaf growth. Mint is best grown in pots or planters as it can easily keep spreading and overgrow if planted in the ground.
Pick mint throughout the growing season and use it immediately or freeze it for use later on. Pick regularly to keep the plants compact and producing lots of new growth.
Chives will grow perfectly well in a sunny or partial shade position. They grow best in a fertile, moist but well-drained soil. This herb is considered a cool-season crop, which means that they grow best in the spring and fall.
Keep the soil moist by watering regularly during prolonged dry periods in summer. To keep the plants productive and with the best-flavoured leaves, remove flowers as they form or cut them when young for brightening up salads.
Harvest leaves as needed with scissors, cutting them back close to the base of the plant. The more regularly they’re cut, the more new leaves they will produce. Chives are best used fresh, as soon as they are cut. They can be frozen by cutting them up and packing into ice cube trays with water.
Sage grows well in a warm, sheltered position in partial sun. The more sun it gets, the stronger the flavour will be. However, make sure that it doesn’t get too much sun and get burnt. Sage needs slightly less watering than the previous plants once it is well established. Make sure to look out for signs of over watering.
Leaves can be picked at any time, generally the younger leaves have the best flavour. Excess harvests can be dried or frozen. Freezing is the best option using leaves picked in mid-summer. Sage flower petals look and taste great in salads.
Parsley is a very commonly grown herb, used mainly as a garnish and to make delicious parsley sauce. But it is also an excellent ingredient for flavouring savoury dishes, making flavoured butter and stuffings and is very rich in vitamin C.
Parsley needs a fertile, moist, but well-drained soil. It can be grown in a sheltered area to limit direct sunlight. Parsley usually needs a little bit more plant food than other herbs to help it grow. The flowers should be cut immediately to encourage growth, unless you intend to try to extract the seeds to grow more plants.
Don’t start harvesting the plants until there are at least 8 to 10 leaves. Then pick regularly to encourage a continual supply of leaves. Cut single leaves or bunches of leaves, starting low down on the stems.
Basil is actually a member of the mint family! It its a favored herb in many dishes from salads to pasta, pizza and sandwiches. It is definately a Mediterranean favourite.
Basil is easy to care for. You can grow it almost anywhere as long as it gets a few hours of sunlight and is sheltered from strong winds. Keep the soil or compost moist, but take care not to overwater – especially in autumn and winter – as too much water can lead to rotting. A general fertilizer will help keep the plant growing healthy.
Once the basil has grown to around 10cm tall with plenty of fresh green leaves it is ready to harvest. This can be done by pinching or cutting the leaves off as required. Basil will regrow leaves from ready grown stems, therefore it is best to avoid chopping whole stems from the plant as it can weaken the plant and prevent further growth.
Rosemary looks great in beds and borders and in Mediterranean planting schemes. It makes a perfect container plant for a sunny patio. Rosemary is easy to grow and look after. It grows well in relatively poor, well-drained soil and a sunny position. The sunnier the site, the stronger the scent from the foliage.
Rosemary is fairly drought tolerant, but like all other drought-tolerant plants, needs watering until established. Allow top inch of soil to dry out between watering, and then water thoroughly. Prune rosemary frequently. The more you trim, the bushier the plant grows. Prune the plant after it flowers to keep it compact.
You can preserve your rosemary bounty by bundling the clippings with a rubber band and hanging them upside down to dry. In addition to adding flavour to dishes, rosemary is also a good mosquito repellent.
Thyme has many uses in cooking and elsewhere in the kitchen. It is perfect in many poultry, meat and fish dishes, as well as casseroles and stews, and a main ingredient of Italian dishes and bouquet garnish.
Thyme needs a warm, sunny position. The more sun it receives, the stronger the flavours. It is fairly drought tolerant and needs a well-drained, preferably alkaline, soil. It will grow well in fairly poor, even stony, soil. The most important thing to look out for is ensuring that the draining holes are not clogged up to avoid root rotting.
Thyme can be picked all year round, but the flavour is strongest during summer. Cut off small sprigs with scissors for immediate use as needed. Take care to avoid spoiling the overall shape of the plant. It is best to cut larger quantities for drying or freezing before the plants flower.
Bay leaves add their essence and aroma to our soups and stews. The bay leaf tree is native to the Mediterranean region, it can grow up to 15 meters if it has enough space to do so. It is also known as bay laurel, sweet bay and simply laurel.
The plant grows best in full sun to partial shade. The plant should be placed in well draining soil mixed with compost.
Bay leaves can be used whole or ground in cooking. Harvest leaves from plants at least 2 years old. To dry the leaves, place them on parchment paper on a large tray in a single layer. Leave them for 2 weeks in a warm dry room. Dried bay leaves are very fragrant and do not disintegrate during the cooking process. They are removed before eating the meal.