Herbs for cooking - A basic guide

Posted on 04/08/14

A kitchen just simply isn’t complete without herbs; they enhance natural flavours and freshen up any dish in terms of colour and flavour.

At the Seasoned HQ, we have recently invested in our own herb garden allowing us to freshly pick the herbs used on our cookery courses. We feel herbs to be an important ingredient used in a wide range of cuisines and so we thought it would be useful to compile a basic guide to using herbs when cooking, to help you feel more confident in your own kitchen. Here it goes:

Seasoned herb garden Seasoned Herb garden

Growing and buying herbs

A wide variety of herbs can be bought at major supermarkets, however, when bought in packets the softer herbs tend to be wasted and repeat purchasing can be expensive. With this in mind, we recommend growing your own herbs at home.There are four main herbs that can be grown at home from seeds and with minimal effort these are;

  • parsley,
  • basil,
  • coriander
  • chervil.

Whereas other kitchen favourite herbs such as chives, rosemary, mint, sage, tarragon and thyme are best bought as plants and grown in pots outside. They take a little longer to become established; however once settled they require little maintenance and in the main continue to flourish for most of the year.

 Top tips from Delia Smith

Mint – Mint, if you are not careful will take over your garden if it is not constrained, the best way to do this is to either regularly trim it or the easier option is to plant it in a large pot and just let it grow.

Parsley– Parsley should be started of in the home as it is slow to germinate when put directly outside.

Tarragon – When buying tarragon always go for the French and not Russian as Russian has a much courser texture and contains less- flavor.

Finally, it is easier to buy perennials and ever greens as plants and they take longer to grow.


Here are some great recipes to get you started and more confident when using herbs.

BBC Food has created an excellent in depth page that describes all the key facts when growing, storing and preparing herbs. They also have recipes for all the popular herbs.

Martha Stewart, has complied a list of 66 recipes that use herbs in simple but effective ways. Our favourite at Seasoned has to be the ‘Grilled Tuscan Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon’ it is simply delicious and a definite must try!

The Guardian, have adapted traditional recipes such as Lemon Drizzle cake and added different herbs for a tasty twist. So for those who want to add something different to their dished I would defiantly check this out.

Have you been inspired by some of these recipes, why not click below to find out about the cookery courses Seasoned has to offer!

Seasoned Cookery School