Culinary herbs! How to grow herbs, and use them + recipes

This is a simple table I made up for the culinary herb section of my online advanced certificate in naturopathy. Thought it might be helpful to provide a quick overview of some common herbs, how to grow them, how to use them, and a yummy recipe to go with it!

When it came time for the exam I’d plain forgotten every single one of these recipes; all I could come up with was pesto…. Basil pesto, mint pesto, chia pesto…. All on pizza.

HerbHow to growHow to useRecipe
Basil, sweet (herb)Plenty of fertiliser and water. Constantly moist, well draining soil. Protected warm sunny site. Use leaves with meats, vegetables, eggs, sauces, pesto, tomato dishes. Chartreuse.Pesto:
ChiaAnnual in temperate climate, longer in subtropical. Sunny, sheltered position. Well drained soil, water during dry spells. Rich source of essential fatty acids. Tasty, nutty flavour. Sprinkle over meals, best soaked for several hours or overnight. Add to breakfast cereal or in salad. Smoothies. Bread. Chia & Sunflower Honey Chews: Melt butter and honey, simmer. Add crushed cornflakes, chia seed, coconut and sunflower seed. Refrigerate and cut into squares.
Lavender, English (Herb)Full sun, may need protection in hot areas. Excellent drainage. Tolerates very dry conditions. Prune regularly, do not prune below green growth. Hardy perennial. Vinegar, apple jelly, bread, biscuits, mustard, icing, fruit salad. Flowers are most commonly used part, either dried or fresh. Lavender honey. Lavender Biscuits:
Lemon BalmHardy once established, keep compact by pruning back by half once flowering has finished. Partial shade in moist, well draining soil. Use leaves fresh or dried, as flavouring or in salads. In drinks. Use leaves as substitute for lemon. Stuff chicken, butter, salad dressing. Lemon Balm Fruit Salad: 
Marjoram, SweetWell draining soil. Water in hot, dry weather. Feed regularly. Prune regularly. Protect in winter. Sweeter flavour than other origanums. Use fresh or dried leaves to flavour meats, vegetables, sauces, vinegar. Onion, Feta & Marjoram Pizza:–feta-cheese-and-marjoram-pizzas.aspx
Mint, CommonThrives in moist soil, filtered sun. Warm position. Can become invasive. Leaves used in mint sauce or jelly, add to drinks or deserts, mix in potato salad, with cooked peas.Mint jelly:
Oregano, GreenWell draining soil. Water in hot, dry weather. Feed regularly. Prune regularly. Fresh or dried in savoury dishes; pasta, meats, vegetables. Lamb. Oregano Garlic Pizza sauce:
RosemaryFull sun, well draining soil. Do not over fertilise or mulch excessively. Do not wet foliage, dislikes humidity. Leaves fresh or dried in meats, soups, vegetables, vinegars, chutney. Garnish and flavouring for strong tasting fruit such as Citrus. herbal tea. Larmb, baked potato. Rosemary skewers. Rosemary Chicken Skewers:
Sage, CommonFertile, well watered sandy loam. Full or lightly filtered sun. No waterlogging. Well draining soil. Prune hard after flowering. Flavour meat, chicken, vegetables, sauces, vinegar. Burnt butter & sage sauce. Butter Sage Pasta:
Thyme, CommonHardy once established. Dislikes extremes of wet and dry. Full or filtered sunlight. Best in moist, well draining sandy loam. Mulch.Leaves used in vinegar, herb butter, tea, flavour meat and vegetables. Any meat, soups, butter, oil. Use fresh, dried, or frozen. Oils. Lemon Thyme Butter:
ParsleyNip out flower heads. Sunny position to part shade. Rich soil, ample water. Compost and mulch. Tabouleh, jelly, salsa verde, garnish, meat, salads, soups, vegetablesTabouleh:
GingerWarm position, humidity, adequate watering. Fertile soil, thick mulch. Curry, Meat, chutney, soup, jam, fruit, cakes, icecream, biscuits, teaGinger Beer:
BaySun to part shade. Well draining soil, sheltered position. Pot suitable. Add at beginning of cooking. meat, seafood, vegetables, soups, stew, sauces. Bouquet garni to flavour meat: Bay, thyme parsley and marjoram – tie together and add to pot.
ChilliSunny position or in pots. Nip young growing tips. Pick at any stage. Fertile soil, water regularlyUse sparingly. Meats, soup, sauce, curry, casseroles, chutneys, pickles, dips. Chilli –
AllspiceWell drained soil, warm, sheltered position. Subtropics and tropics. Frost tenderBoth berry & leaf are used. Leaves similar to bay. Tea. Meat, seafood, sausage, meat loaf, corned beef, sauces, curry, vegetables, rice. Chicken Spice Marinade with onion, ginger, pepper, thyme, salt, apple cider vinegar.
CinnamonWarm, sheltered position. Tropical, but may adapt. Water regularly. Sweet & savoury dishes, curry powders, rice, meat, pickles, breads, cakes, desserts, fruit. Cinnamon Rolls:
CorianderWell drained soil, protect from wind. Shade in hot climates. Ample water. Remove flowers. Don’t grow near fennel. Curry, meat, asian dishes, jams, casseroles, stews, soup, marinade, vegetables, stir friesCurry powder: 30g coriander with 30g cardamom, 10g ginger, 30g turmeric, 5g cayenne.
CuminWell drained, sunny position. Mexican and Indian dishes. Curry, mexican chilli powder, meats, pickles, chutney, vegetables, pastries, cakesBlack Beans with Cumin & Garlic:
DillSunny, sheltered position. Ample water. Protect during very hot weatherCucumber, pickles, fish. Dill Pickle:
GarlicSunny position, consistent moisture, fertile soil. Well drained spot. Slightly alkaline soilMeat, stew, casserole, soup, marinade, vegetable, suaces, dips. Garlic Sauce:

The very final question for my culinary herbs course was ‘What have you learned about herbs’. My answer:

What I learned about herbs? What I already knew, and have known for years. They are indispensable to us and need to be treated with respect. Herbs are special and incredibly intriguing, and one never stops learning about them, using them and their properties. There is a herb for every ailment, every dish, every mood, and I’ve loved my herb journey so far and have the feeling it’s a journey which won’t end any time soon.

I love adding herbs to smoothies. Herbs transform smoothies from okay to magic – a sprig of thyme, some lemon balm, mint… Try some, you won’t be disappointed. Have you tried Aibika, also known as Queensland Greens yet? Read about growing and eating Aibika, and a yummy Aibika Mint smoothie recipe to go with it.