Fresh herbs can make a world of difference in virtually any dish, bringing a pop of flavor that their dried counterparts simply can’t match. But once purchased from the store, bunches of cut herbs don’t last long in the kitchen, and growing them outdoors can sometimes be intimidating for people with little gardening experience. So what’s a cook in search of flavor to do? We think you should give indoor planting a try, here are some great options to get started.
When deciding what to plant, think about which herbs you use most. Then, choose from varieties that thrive indoors. A few herbs that grow easily and are versatile enough for a wide variety of recipes include:
Sweet and leafy, basil is great in Italian cuisine, used to make basil sugar or added to everything from salads to sandwiches.
Another Italian staple, oregano is also used in many Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes and helps make the perfect seasoning for our Cuban Pork Shoulder.
Delicious in desserts and refreshing when added to tea, mint is a bright, uplifting herb. It’s also great in Cucumber-Mint Italian Soda (Plus…Mojitos anyone?)
Other herbs and spices, like cilantro, chives or even a small cinnamon tree, can be grown indoors as well with just a bit more care. It just depends on your tastes and how much indoor gardening you want to take on. (But once you try homegrown cinnamon in our Banana French Toast Casserole or cilantro in our Chicken Satay, we think you’ll agree it’s worth it.)
So, how do you get started? As Florida Crystals® farmers, we will tell you that properly prepared soil that’s properly leveled and rich in nutrients is the key to healthy herb growth. Start with loose, well-draining soil by using a 50/50 combination of cactus mix and regular potting soil. Light is the next secret to success. Whether it comes from placing your herbs in south-facing windows or from an indoor light kit, make sure your herbs get as much light as possible, up to 16 hours a day. Finally, make sure to use an organic indoor plant fertilizer once or twice a month so your herbs get all the nutrients they need.
At Florida Crystals®, we’re proud to be the only organic raw cane sugar grown in the US, and we’ve spent over 150 years pioneering, following and perfecting the most environmentally friendly agricultural practices out there. We do everything we can to grow, harvest and package our sugarcane in ways that are sustainable and beneficial to the Earth. Your indoor garden is a small step toward helping the planet on an individual level as well. You’ll use less gas thanks to reduced trips to the store, and you’ll develop a love of gardening that just might spread from a few indoor pots to a full-fledged vegetable garden one day.
We hope that you’ll use your fresh herbs in one of these delicious recipes, and that you’ll join us on the path to creating a healthier, happier, more beautiful world for us all.