Imagine making a fabulous, full meal without needing to buy any seasonings. Growing your own herbs makes this a reality.
My family use to always tell me that my food just didn’t have enough seasoning… it just always seemed to be missing something. Well they no longer complain about my salt less foods because I use herbs from my home garden. It’s cheaper than shopping at the grocery store, healthier, and the flavors are much stronger. It’s all about being self-sufficient.
Herbs are relatively easy to grow and take up little space. They can be grown almost anywhere... in pots inside or outside, in window sills, or even in your backyard. Even a small plot of 4 by 6 feet will grow all a small family would need.
Herbs can be used fresh for garnish in salads, to perk up the flavors of bland vegetables or to add flavor to meats and stews in which case you only need to nip off a few leaves when wanted.
If not grown for use in cooking, herbs are worth growing for pleasant aromatic foliage and some of them for the beauty of the flowers as well. Some herbs can even be used for medicinal use. Also, most herbs in Arizona are planted in the winter.
Sage is one of those cooking herbs with several uses. It’s a great seasoning as well as a medicinal plant. It is often used to help indigestion, flatulence, depression, and menopausal symptoms.
Basil is another herb used in lots of recipes, including pesto. It also has medicinal uses; Steep the basil leaves in water to make an herbal tea that is used as an herbal remedy for indigestion. As a cold oil, it is used to massage sore muscles.
Another plus is that it grows so well in Arizona. Although the best time to plant tends to be January and February… you can start planting it as soon as December all the way until August.
Alfalfa is really a member of the pea family, making it a legume. It is indeed a remarkable plant as it can be planted anywhere in the world, at any time of the year, regardless of temperature and climate and it harvests in only 7 days. We actually grow ours inside of a jar indoors. Alfalfa sprouts juice contains a myriad of valuable nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, zinc.
Other herbs that we have found grow well in the Phoenix area:
- Peppers (Jalapeno, Banana, Green, Red, etc.)
- Green onions
A knowledgeable local nursery can be your best friend. They can help you trouble-shoot when your garden seems to be having trouble, they can help you figure out which plants are the best for your garden and can answer questions about food, soil and compost… among other things.
Did you know?
- Herbal seeds have been found in pre-historic cave dwellings dating as old as 500,000 years. Our ancestors have always used herbs as food and as remedies.
- The Egyptians studied herbs and used them in medicinal and religious functions as far back as 3500 B.C. The Chinese began the organized study of herbs in 2500 B.C. Written records in China have survived enumerating the uses of herbs that date from 100 B.C.
- The discovery of America itself is linked to Western civilization’s search for easier access to rare spices and herbs. Columbus was, in fact, hoping to open trade routes for these substances when he blundered into the West Indies and the Age of Exploration unveiled the New World.
- Western medicine eventually turned away from “herbalism” and concentrated instead on chemical cures. It is interesting to note, however, that many of the chemicals and medicines that have been developed over the years are in fact based on active ingredients present in herbs and plants.
- Today’s modern healthy lifestyles are learning to include ancient herbs and supplements as part of a holistic approach to life. Ginko, Ginseng etc. have never been so widely used.
- Besides medicinal use, herbs have always been part of human food preparation. Who can imagine a life without Basil, Thyme, Rosemary or any of the herbs we’ve come to love in our cuisine?
- Herb gardens are an easy and fun way to bring healthy, fresh foods and nutrients into your daily life. Organic herbs and plants should be an essential part of your diet.
- Aromatherapy owes its existence to fresh, organic herbs.
- A little easy research and you can make organic herbs, and herbal supplements part of your life. It’s the kind of knowledge that will set you free to enjoy life fully.