There’s something very rewarding about harvesting herbs from your garden and adding their fresh flavours to a home-cooked meal.
Herbs can take any dish from good to great, especially if paired well! Different dishes are complemented by different varieties of herbs and we thought it best to share some combinations to inspire your Christmas cooking.
Compliments to flavours of tomatoes and sweet peppers; tear the leaves instead of chopping them.
Use the stronger tasting leaves sparingly in winter.
Add the spicy-sweet leaves for colour or use them in herbal vinegar and salad dressings.
Add the leaves for colour and piquancy, also use in dressings.
Chopped leaves add a fresh taste to salads. Also, use spearmint or garden mint.
Strip the leaves off the stems, add to salads; use in salad dressings for a subtle lemon flavour.
Tip | Encourage tender new leaves by picking regularly. Remove basil flowers (add to the salad) to prevent plants from going to seed.
Pair well with trout and salmon; use fresh as a garnish, also with steamed veggies, or in dressings and sauces.
Harvest leaves by cutting them off at ground level and snip with kitchen scissors as a mild onion-flavoured garnish.
Use in herb butter, sauces and in herb-infused oils and vinegar to flavour fish dishes.
Flat leaf parsley
Use in sauces accompanying fish, or together with dill as a garnish.
Use when baking, grilling or braaing fish.
Tip | Chives and dill are indicator plants for aphids, plant them next to food crops to alert you to insect infestations; spray with an organic spray, mild soapy water or let the ladybirds have a feast.
The robust herb is used mainly in Mediterranean meat and pasta dishes, complementing tomato and basil dishes.
Flavour slow-cooked red meat and chicken dishes. Strip leaves off the stem and chop, or add sprigs to the beginning of cooking and remove before serving.
Parsley / Italian parsley
Chop the leaves finely and add at the end of cooking. Italian parsley is tastier and can be cooked for longer. Pick the outer leaves.
Pairs well with beef and lamb, helping the temper of the richness of the meat, especially the home-made mint sauce.
Use sprigs to flavour roast chicken and lamb as well as in marinades for grilled or braai meat.
Use the leaves in winter in chicken and beef dishes.
Note | In most cases, heat kills the flavour of fresh herbs, so they're best when added to a dish at the end.
Take a peek at these herb profiles to inspire you in the garden and the kitchen: