Cooking and the holidays are a pair that cannot be separated. Food is definitely one of the most popular topics of the winter months. But what makes it so special? Is it the meats, cookies, cakes, vegetables, or candy? While you could get a million different answers to this question, I believe herbs are a key player. Herbs can elevate any dish to something greater. Cooking meat? There's an herb for that! Cookies? Them too! Herbs help create a more complex flavor, aroma, and a visual spark of appeal. While this article addresses many herbs known to go well with specific types of food, don't let that stop you from creating your own mixtures and preferences.
To help your holidays be extra special, start growing some fresh herbs to be added to your favorite meals, baked goods, and beverages. We are offering this special Holiday Herb Assortment for a limited time this season. Starting Oct 21st, get yours while supplies last!
The Holiday Herb Assortment Includes These 10 Seeds:
Thyme - Has a spicy flavor with a minty edge to it. Use to neutralize powerful flavors or pair with sweets and fruits.
Parsley - Most often used as a garnish. Has a neutral flavor with a palette-cleansing effect.
Oregano - Unlike many herbs, oregano has a more powerful warm, earthy flavor when dried rather than fresh. Use with meat, veggies, and tea.
Mustard - Most often paired with juices, sauces, and marinades for its emulsifying characteristics.
Fennel - Usually used as a garnish or to flavor soups, salads, or sauces.
Dill - Flavor pickled dishes, salads, and vegetables. Perfect pair with potatoes, fish, chicken, turkey, and eggs.
Cilantro - Also known as coriander or Chinese parsley. Loses its flavor with cooking making it most popularly used as a garnish.
Arugula - Used as a salad green or herb for its nutty, peppery flavor.
Rosemary - An earthy flavor that pairs well with savory cooking or sweet flavors such as chocolate.
Chives - A relative of garlic and onion with thin grass-like leaves lacking the characteristic bulb. The entire plant is edible, including the flowers, and is only served raw or gently cooked.
Herbs For Baking
- Lavender - pair with lemon, berries, and teas
- Rosemary - pair with fruit and chocolate
- Thyme - Citrus type varieties are preferred
Herbs For Cooking Vegetables
Herbs are the perfect way to create complex flavors in cooked vegetables. But what works well? The answer to that question really depends on what vegetables you are cooking. For a quick go-to, try basil, dill, ginger, oregano, parsley, rosemary, or thyme. These herbs are so diverse, you can really use them with anything. For specific and unique spice recommendations based on the individual vegetable check out OneGreen Planet's article "Guide to Matching Herbs and Spices With the Right Veggies". Rhea Parsons walks through 25 of the most popular vegetables and discusses how different herbs and seasonings will affects their natural flavor profile. Don't endure another bland bag of mixed vegetables again. Spice things up and enjoy the art of cooking your harvest.
Herbs For Cooking Beef
Herbs For Cooking Pork
Growing Herbs Indoors
Just because we are entering the winter months does not mean you have to be done gardening. Try bringing the outdoors in with an indoor herb garden. Simply start your seeds in a container of your choice, and use a grow light. For growing herb seeds for culinary use indoors, we recommend using Minute Soil+ Amended Coco Coir. It contains enough nutrients for a whole growing season or 4-6 months. Add the hydrated growing medium to your container, plant your seeds, cover if needed, and grow according to the seed requirements. Enjoy fresh herbs from Thanksgiving to Spring. This is a great opportunity to get your herbs growing in time for spring transplanting. Don’t let the winter stop you from enjoying the best your food has to offer.
To get started, try one of our kits to get your going. We have kits directed towards Medicinal and Herbal Tea, Culinary Herbs, growing in Barnwood Planters, or producing a diversity of herbs in Vertical Stacking Planters. There is something for gardeners of all experiences. Involve the whole family in some winter fun!
Anyone can continue growing throughout the winter. Grow herbs indoors, microgreens in your kitchen, sprouts on the countertop, or stay outdoors if your local climate allows. For additional winter growing information for warm climates, check out our Winter Garden Success Page or “Winter Gardening in Zones 7, 8, 9, and 10”. Know your zones and take advantage of your full growing seasons.
About the Author
I'm Ashleigh Smith, a native to Northern Utah. I first gained a love of gardening with my grandmother as I helped her each summer. I decided to make a career of it and have recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University - Idaho. My studies have focused on plant production while I also have experience in Nursery & Garden Center Operations.
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Thank you so much for breaking down what herbs pair best with which meats. I love herbs but never know how to mix them and what to use them on.
I love growing herbs indoors, and it’s a great way to keep the summer growing on I doors!
I made an herbal salt for Christmas gifts last year. They were a huge hit! I’ll have to decide on what to do with all my rosemary this year.
Great article. I try to grow and dry most of the herbs I use in the summer. This is a great list of new ones to try. And I’m inspired to get a grow light and grow indoors this winter!
I truly enjoyed the article about herbs. It was very informative. I didn’t realize there were so many uses for herbs.
This has me in the mood for alllll the holiday baking!! Thanks for some wonderful pairing tips!
Such a great article! Got me super excited for holiday cooking!
I absolutely love incorporating herbs into the dishes I cook. They add tons much flavor. So much so that it allows me to go a bit little on the salt I use. Thyme and oregago are two of my favorites for beef, almost anything goes with chicken, and there’s nothing like dill with Salmon. Yum!
I had no idea some of these herbs could be used this way. Who would have thought mint with chicken? I need recipes now.
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