Fresh herbs should be a staple in the summer kitchen—and garden. Just imagine tomato and mozzarella salad devoid of basil, vegetable pizza minus oregano or grilled chicken without rosemary. Not only do fresh herbs add flavor and color, but they also supply nutrients. Equally important, these benefits come without the sugar and sodium characteristic of most bottled sauces and marinades.
“There is some evidence that adding a wide variety of herbs to your diet can improve your health,” says Cordialis Msora-Kasago, MA, RD, media spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Herbs are a great source of antioxidants that boost immunity, prevent aging and reduce the risk of disease, all while making food taste great.”
While different herbs possess distinct nutritional profiles, Msora-Kasago cites evidence that oregano, mint, sage and thyme contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Meanwhile, Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, points out that, in general, “green-leaved herbs contain varying levels of vitamins A, C and K, as well as phytonutrients.”
Instead of trekking to the grocery store each time you’re in need of a few sprigs, why not start your own herb garden? After all, herbs are easy to grow—provided you’re armed with the below tips. Read on for guidance from gardening experts, then get growing!