Sustainability at Home: The 10 Easiest Herbs to Grow from Your Kitchen
I was in my local Kroger yesterday, shopping in the produce section. As I looked at my grocery list, I had written down a handful of fresh herbs that I needed for a variety of recipes. Reaching for the pre-packaged cilantro that was going to cost me two dollars, I thought that there must be a way that I can get herbs for less money, or maybe even grow them at home. Thus, began my quest looking for what herbs I can grow right from my kitchen – a cheaper and more sustainable option than buying them in the supermarket.
The first thing I looked into was logistics. Would my herbs get enough sun in my kitchen window? How often do I have to water them? What kind of soil is just right? I came up with these three tips that are sure to have your herbs growing in no time:
- Make sure your herbs are getting as much natural sunlight as possible. Herbs will grow the best with 6-8 hours of sunlight. Putting your herbs in front of a south-facing window is the ideal option as this direction has the brightest light and most hours of sun. East and west facing options are also good, but receive bright sun for a maximum of 6 hours in either the morning or the afternoon. Getting natural sunlight is important for both the growth and flavor of your herbs. Herbs grown in strong, bright light will have the most intense flavors, as compared to herbs grown in mediocre light.
If you are unable to provide adequate sunlight for your herbs, you can grow them under lights such as HID and LED lights, which have the best results for indoor herb growing. Since these are not as powerful as natural sunlight, your herb will require 14-16 hours of artificial light.
Herbs typically need 3-12 inches of soil for growing. If you are potting your herbs, make sure that the containers have good drainage and are large enough to support the plant’s root system.
Although chives are typically used in smaller quantities in different recipes, there are different health benefits of topping your soups, salads, or potatoes with chives. Since they contain Choline and Folate, two different vitamins associated with cognitive functions, chives can improve your memory.
Here are three different recipes using chives you can try out!
According to Medical News Today, mint leaves contain an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent called rosmarinic acid, which can reduce the symptoms of asthma. Furthermore, Mint contains menthol. This an aromatic decongestant that might help to break up phlegm and mucus, making it easier to expel.
With all of the added benefits of mint, here are different recipes to try:
Parsley is packed with vitamin K, which is an essential nutrient for bone health, according to Healthline. Eating foods that have a high volume of vitamin K can reduce your chances of bone fractures. Vitamin K is essential for stopping blood clotting. Adding parsley to your diet is a great way to ensure getting extra vitamin K.
Try out these three recipes that use parsley:
Because of basil’s eugenol content, it can help reduce blood pressure. Additionally, basil can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression according to Medical News Today. Try out these tasty recipes that can also improve your mental health and blood pressure:
5: Bay Laurel
According to Health Beat, “Bay leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Also regular inclusion of bay leaves in meals promotes general health.” Plant bay laurel for improved health and these delicious recipes:
Cilantro contains dodecenal, an antimicrobial compound that may help protect your body against infections and illnesses caused by tainted food, as stated by Nourish. That means that cilantro is an effective agent in preventing foodborne illnesses such as salmonella.
Try out these cilantro based recipes:
Thyme is packed with vitamin C and vitamin A. According to Healthline, it’s also a great source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese. Boost your immunity using thyme in these different recipes:
Lemongrass adds the tangy citrusy flavor of a lemon to any dish, but without the bitterness of a regular lemon. It has a lighter flavor and can be blended with a variety of other herbs. Lemongrass pairs well with coconut milk, cucumbers, and pears.
Because lemongrass has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help decrease pain from menstrual cramps. It can even help regulate menstrual flow due to its circulation benefits, according to Sencha. Taste the flavor of lemongrass by trying out these three recipes:
The benefits of Oregano? This herb is plentiful in antioxidants and it is an excellent source of iron, calcium, and fiber. Experiment using this herb in these recipes:
As stated by Healthline, Sage can effectively kill the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is notorious for causing dental cavities due to its antimicrobial effects. Furthermore, it can neutralize microbes that promote dental plaque. Want healthier teeth? Try out these sage based recipes:
Herbs are cheap to buy and take care of. What’s more, in the long run you will be saving tons of money by not having to buy pre-packaged herbs!
2. Aesthetically pleasing
Adding plants to your home brings in a beautiful nature element to your kitchen. Not only will your herbs look great, but also they will smell great too!
Herbs bring a fresh dimension to all of your favorite recipes! Add them to anything and put a spin on how you cook. Fresh herbs have a much better and stronger flavor than the dried herbs you may get from the store.
There are so many different health benefits you can receive by adding fresh herbs to your diet. Each one has different advantages, so eating a variety will boost your health!
To sum up, herbs are easy to grow, easy to take care of, have added health benefits, and taste delicious! By avoiding buying herbs from the store, you are not only saving money, but also reducing your carbon footprint by avoiding pre-packaged herbs. Growing your own herbs is more sustainable than buying them from the store, as most herbs are shipped to grocery stores and are placed into plastic containers. Start out with selecting one or two herbs and give herb growing a try!
If you make it past the “ick” factor, crickets can actually serve as a complete protein that’s also incredibly environmentally sustainable.
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Buying locally grown food has a vast impact on our health and environment. Here are five benefits of buying local and the many ways to do so.