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Kitchen Windowsill Herbs - what do you actually use?

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I'm thinking of starting up a couple of herbs on my windowsill to use over the winter. I've grown herbs before, and then never used them.

What herbs do you actually use? I use coriander, and have a MASSIVE rosemary bush in the garden, but I think I don't like rosemary in my food!

How about basil? I cook a lot of tomato based pasta dishes - do you use fresh basil, and which type do you recommend?
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  • J_J_Carter
    J_J_Carter Posts: 1,024 Forumite
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    I love mint in with tatties and peas. Fresh parsley goes into loads of stews and Indian dishes. Basil leaves onto pizza. Sprigs if rosemary I put on the bottom of the oven when roasting lamb, not on the meat itself.
  • valk_scot
    valk_scot Posts: 5,290 Forumite
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    Mint for spuds, lamb and curries, coriander for curries, parsley for soups and such, rosemary for foccachia and BBQs (it's good with lamb), sage and thyme for stuffing and breads, chives for potato salads and egg sandwiches, garlic chives for general salad use, oregano for italian dishes.

    Of the above the only ones that need to be grown indoors are the basil and in winter, the coriander and chives. Rosemary, sage and thyme are much better grown in the garden as they get big and woody, mint really needs to be grown in the confines of a pot! (I sunk an old terracotta one into the earth, bunged up the drainage hole and use that for mint.) If you've got a healthy patch of chives in the garden you can divide off a clump and bring them indoors for the winter. It's worth growing chives just for the bees btw.

    Basil? I find the ordinary broad leaved stuff like you get in the supermarket most useful. Or if you make a lot of Thai type food, lemon basil and purple small leaved basil are good.
    Val.
  • Rummer
    Rummer Posts: 6,550 Forumite
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    I love basil and have it is loads of things including salads, pasta and sandwiches. I try and keep a few pots of it growing round the house as I have never managed to get it to grow outside.

    We also use a lot of mint in cold drinks, tea and salads too. We have a few different types of mint to vary the flavour.
    Taking responsibility one penny at a time!
  • lizzyb1812
    lizzyb1812 Posts: 1,392 Forumite
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    Basil definitely. Buy a living pot from the supermarket, pot on to a bigger pot and when it gets bushy start using it but also cut off 3 or 4 sprigs, remove the bottom leaves and put the sprigs in a glass of water - after a week to 10 days you'll see roots on the sprigs. Plant them up in one pot, when it gets bushy ....... basil forever.
    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain." ~ Vivian Greene
  • [Deleted User]
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    Don't forget - you'll need a South Facing windowsill, in order that they get enough light over Winter (I've used a West one - with limited success).

    I love Basil but don't grow it over Winter as I use it in a lot of summery foods, but not wintery ... So I would think about what you like to eat, and then grow herbs that will enhance them.

    So - my must have herbs for winter are: chives can be useful with cream cheese in baked potatoes; parsley with veggies; mint (great with potatoes), and thyme (great with chicken). Personally I love rosemary with lamb - but that's a personal choice.

    So, think what you like to eat over winter - and grow those :)
  • oldtractor
    oldtractor Posts: 2,262 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
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    mint basil sage parsley thyme lovage rosemary fennel tarragon.
  • Piggo_2
    Piggo_2 Posts: 263 Forumite
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    This is something I'd been recently thinking of. We have windowsills that are south facing but extremely exposed. The tomato plants (small ones) I have in my window boxes have about finished now and I was leaning to planting herbs in them for the winter months. Are there any particular herbs that are more hardy than others, it can get seriously windy and cold although they will get plenty of light?
  • Sally_A
    Sally_A Posts: 2,266 Forumite
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    Basil everytime for me too, I freeze excess leaves, so simple, just nip off whole leaves and stick them in a small tub.

    I try to keep a plant or two going all year round, but it doesn't always go to plan.

    Also love using oregano and thyme, but these grow outdoors.

    Less often I'll use some rosemary or sage, again these grow outdoors.

    With the oregano and sage it's worth freezing some whole leaves just before the plant starts flowering.
  • Piggo_2
    Piggo_2 Posts: 263 Forumite
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    Sally_A wrote: »
    Basil everytime for me too, I freeze excess leaves, so simple, just nip off whole leaves and stick them in a small tub.

    I try to keep a plant or two going all year round, but it doesn't always go to plan.

    Also love using oregano and thyme, but these grow outdoors.

    Less often I'll use some rosemary or sage, again these grow outdoors.

    With the oregano and sage it's worth freezing some whole leaves just before the plant starts flowering.

    Can you really freeze them then? We dried a load one year, I'd never thought of freezing - do they still have the same flavour? You don't do anything before feezing, just stick the leaves in a tub then get them out when you want some?
  • [Deleted User]
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    Piggo wrote: »
    This is something I'd been recently thinking of. We have windowsills that are south facing but extremely exposed. The tomato plants (small ones) I have in my window boxes have about finished now and I was leaning to planting herbs in them for the winter months. Are there any particular herbs that are more hardy than others, it can get seriously windy and cold although they will get plenty of light?


    Herbs like basil are too tender to cope with wind and cold. Rosemary would be fine - buy a small plant in the autumn, it should survive through the winter - but you'd probably have to replace it eventually - it will get too big for the window box (though think about creeping rosemary, which will hang over the sides and look attractive, as well as be productive). I think Thyme would be okay (it's a toughie) but not sure about Oregano - may be too tender (but worth a try). If you really want to grow more tender plants, you'll need to be creative and come up with a see through "cover" to use in the worst temperatures. Plants like chives die down in the winter (well, they do in my garden); not sure parsley would survive, nor coriander (which needs plenty of sun and, in my experience, shelter).

    I think Mint will survive almost anything (though may die down if it gets too cold) - of course, if it thrives, it will completely take over the box :eek:

    But why not experiment and see - and let us all know ? ;)
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