A guide to matching herbs with meat flavours and some tips on growing

I’m sure like me, you’ve tried growing herbs.

Whether it’s in a pot outside, in your garden or perched on a window sill.

It’s not always easy growing your own herbs. Even though it seems like a simple and economical thing to do.

For me, it’s an ongoing battle of dealing with dried up, sad or dead plants – but it’s a battle I hope to win one day. And through this rather brutal learning curve of dying plants, I’ve come to understand which ones I can grow successfully and the rest… they are bought and live in my spice drawer as dried herbs.

You can’t win ‘em all. And as the great Kenny Rogers’ once sang…

‘You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run…’

WHICH HERBS ENHANCE DIFFERENT MEATS?

I’ve put together a snapshot of herbs that go well with different meat flavours and which you may like to try and grow… but only plant the one’s you will use on a regular basis.

  • Lamb: mint, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, savoury, thyme
  • Beef: thyme, marjoram, coriander, sage, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf
  • Pork: oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram
  • Chicken:  marjoram, tarragon, oregano, coriander, thyme, sage

TIPS ON USING HERBS IN YOUR COOKING

  • A tablespoon of fresh herbs is about the same as a teaspoon of dried herbs i.e. around three to one ratio
  • Most ‘soft’ herbs are added at the end of cooking or in salads. The woody herbs are better for in your cooking.
  • Don’t overdo it on the herbs. Like with all seasoning, you can always add more but if you start out with too much you can’t take it back.
  • Herbs are versatile. You can use them in a rub, coat a roast in herbs, add to stews or marinades and can bring out the lush flavours of the meat.

Next up…

ANNUAL, BIENNIAL OR PERENNIAL HERBS? HUH?

PERENNIALS keep coming back season after season.

My favourite! Here is a list of some of the most common. Below, the top four perennial’s grow really well in my garden and get used a lot…

  1. Sage
  2. Rosemary
  3. Oregano
  4. Mint
  5. Thyme
  6. Chives
  7. Comfrey
  8. Sorrel
  9. Tarragon
  10. Bay
  11. Winter Savory

ANNUAL a single season

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro/Coriander
  3. Chervil
  4. Marjoram
  5. Summer Savory
  6. Coriander (seeds of cilantro)
  7. Dill

BIENNIAL need two years to complete their whole life cycle

  1. Parsley
  2. Stevia

SOME GROWING TIPS

Herbs such as basil, chives, marjoram, coriander are delicate and need care and attention when growing. They are the ones that you usually only add to dishes at the end of the cooking process, or put into salads.

Woody herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage – tend to do well in a hot, dry spot and are hardy enough to get through winter.

Ideally herbs like a sunny, sheltered place (although mint and parsley don’t mind shady) with good drainage. Make sure you keep them well watered, able to drain and have some space to breathe.

And don’t forget to pick or prune them regularly. 

Even though I have fought hard (and lost sometimes) to grow my own herbs, it has to be said that it is very satisfying being able to go and pick your own fresh herbs when you’re cooking from your own garden or pot plants.

Give it a go.

Drop me note or leave a comment if you have any great tips on growing herbs or any that you’d recommend to have in your herb collection, whether it’s fresh or dried…

References

Country Living
Living on a Dime
RHS
Herbs with Meat Dishes