Fresh Herbs Primer

By: Co+op

Spring and summer bring us fresh herbs, snipped from our own kitchen gardens or purchased from the local growers who sell to our co-ops. Here are some of the most popular fresh culinary herbs:

Sweet Basil

Very popular for use in pesto and many Mediterranean inspired dishes. Flowers are edible.


Tastes like sweet, mild onions. Commonly used in salads and vinegars or as a garnish. Whole leaves can be tied decoratively around vegetables.


The leaves and stems of the Coriander plant, Cilantro is a lively, pungent herb often used in Asian, Caribbean and Latin American cooking that lends itself well to spicy foods.


Delicious in jellies, sauces, teas and beverages. Spearmint enhances meats, fish and vegetable dishes.


Perfect with tomato sauce, oregano is used in a variety of cuisines, including those of Italy, Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Colombia, Greece and Brazil. Blends well with basil and tarragon.


Parsley is a natural breath freshener, and is commonly used as garnish. It also blends well with mild-flavored vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.


Combines well with many meats and fish, enhances vegetables and complements other herbs. Excellent in sauces, soups and marinades.


Sage is good with pork, sausage, lamb, other meats, and cheese. It is often combined with thyme and used with beans and in soups. The flowers make an attractive garnish.


Tarragon goes well with fish, meat, soups and stews, and is often used in tomato and egg dishes. Tarragon adds distinctive flavor to sauces.


Thyme is often used for poultry and stuffing, and is commonly used in fish sauces, chowders and soups. It also goes well with lamb, eggs, and is often paired with tomatoes.

For more on using fresh herbs, see Using Fresh Herbs and to grow your own herbs, see Herb Gardening 101.


Tags: fresh herbs