Growing Herbs for Italian Cooking
Growing herbs at home is surprisingly easy and can be done from a sunny windowsill. If you want to add some flavour to your Italian cooking with ease, then here are some of the easiest herbs to grow:
Basil (Basilico)– This is an herb that features commonly in many world cuisines including Italian. Basil works perfectly with tomatoes which is what makes it ideal for Italian cookery. It’s also easy to grow indoors with leaves you can easily pull off to throw into a salad or use in a delicious Italian sauce. Grow from seed in organic soil or start with a small plant. Basil grows well in both warmth and bright light so placing on a south or west-facing window sill is ideal. Failing that, a grow light will work easily as well. With basil you’ll need to plant a regular supply as the plants will only last for a few weeks.
Rosemary (Rosmarino) – This popular herb is the perfect seasoning for chicken, potatoes, soups, and white meat and grows abundantly across the Italian countryside. It’s most commonly used with roasted meats and vegetables. It’s a tough herb which can remain in hot, dry conditions during the summer months but cold, light locations during the winter are the best. You can trim the leaves for topping Italian soups or tear up the leaves for mincing and sprinkling over roasted meat and potatoes. Save yourself the washing up and head out for Italian tonight. For a top-class Dublin Italian Restaurant, visit http://www.toscanarestaurant.ie/
Oregano (Origano) – Oregano is part of the mint family and is used extensively in American Italian cuisine but only since the end of WWI when soldiers returned with the herb. A simple snip of the stems and peeling off a leaf will provide you with the perfect seasoning for soups, meat and many sauces. Growing oregano is very similar to growing mint, it doesn’t like excessive water but also won’t like soil that becomes completely dried out. It needs a lot of light and when ready for use in cooking, the leaves are much more flavoursome if dried out beforehand.
Sage (Salve) – Sage is an herb with many health properties and is an important seasoning in Italian cooking. With a powerful flavour, only a small amount is required each time, making it a good economical plant to grow. For best results, place in a sunny location and grow from cuttings which is easier than planting seeds. You might need a little patience as growing sage can take up to 15 months. Once established though, sage is very tough and resistant to most pests. Don’t water the soil until it is completely dry as constantly moist soil is not good for it. Being a Mediterranean plant, it is used to hot, dry conditions.
Parsley (Prezzemolo) – Another easy herb to grow, flat-leaf parsley used in Italian cooking fares well in a loamy soil. Don’t keep it anywhere it will get too hot, but it does like sunny places. Thankfully, it’s a pest-resistant and hardy plant which likes moderately moist soil so regular watering will be required. Your plant should be ready to harvest after about 2 months.