additions to the herb garden

My foray into the world of gardening continues this week; I have been fortunate enough to acquire some more herbs to add to my garden and kitchen window box. My dad also seems to be under the assumption that I am now qualified to parent a baby tomato plant; I am not sure to how this one will turn out!

So what have I planted this week?

Mint (Apple) - As its name suggests, this variety of mint has apple-scented foliage. With a milder taste than the other varieties of mint, it has a wider culinary use, and goes really well with new potatoes in particular. If you're short on space, Apple Mint is less invasive than its cousins, so will not try and corrupt fellow pot-dwellers to the minty side!

Thyme - Basically, you should grow it because it smells awesome (although the smell of Basil and Rosemary are still my top 2). Thankfully, it doesn't just smell good - Thyme's disinfectant and anti-septic properties mean that you can make an effective sore throat gargle with it, or you could make like the Medieval guys and hang some round your neck to ward off germs and smelly people (best not to tell them that they smell however). Failing that use it to flavour dishes or make herby potatoes; in cooking it's best to add Thyme near the end, as the oils contained within it do emit a strong flavour which can be too overpowering if added earlier.

Parsley - I have this purely for culinary use and mainly for fish - if you are brave/have no taste buds you can chew on it to freshen your breath. Not that you need to know, but it's also good for wind problems...

Basil - This wins my award for Herb I Could Sniff All Day. My only peeve with Basil is that it usually dies off way before the other herbs, which is blatantly a sign I should move to Italy. Blatantly. Basil is just lovely in any tomato-based dish, and is especially nice to make fresh pesto with. It's also useful for headaches, stomach cramps and constipation.

Coriander  - Chopped up from freshly grown, this is a key ingredient in a good curry. Mmm, curry. Be warned though, the Coriander smell is like Marmite. Not literally, but you will either love it or hate it. Apparently it also helps those who suffer from allergies like hay fever, so get a curry on. One more curry reason  - when Coriander is mixed with turmeric powder or paste, it can reduce acne and provide protection from dry skin conditions like eczema. Curry for all.

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