Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1332, (16 - 22 February 2017)
Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Issue 1332, (16 - 22 February 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Growing herbs indoors

Let’s talk about better living! Our interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

Growing herbs indoors

Nothing beats fresh herbs for improving and enhancing your cooking. And if you’re a fresh herb flavour lover, you can satisfy your craving by growing them indoors. Next time a recipe calls for fresh basil, skip the poor substitute of dried basil and pluck a few tender leaves off the basil plant growing in your very own herb garden.

Growing your own herbs is simple and inexpensive. You don’t need a huge herb garden: With the right selection and conditions, a simple pot can provide you with a variety of interesting flavours to spice up your cooking. All you need is a bright space, such as a large sunny window, a sunroom or a room with skylights with good air circulation. Almost any pot or container at least six inches or larger can be used for growing herbs as long as it has drainage holes.

To get the best out of your potted herbs, experts advise picking your herbs regularly during the growing season and not picking stems from the base of the plant. Pick off the tips of each stem, just above a pair of leaves. Two new shoots will grow from each stem, creating a fuller plant. You should also feed your herbs with liquid seaweed or similar while they are growing. This can transform weak specimens into strong, lush plants.

Here are some useful kitchen herbs that will easily grow in containers:


Parsley: This makes a great addition to veggie dishes, pesto, tabbouleh and salad dressings. As a natural anti-bacterial remedy, parsley can also bolster your immune system and neutralise bad breath. It’s a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, which makes it great for digestion and detoxification.  


Thyme: This pairs well with other herbs like parsley, onion, garlic and ginger to add complexity to their individual flavours in stocks, soups and sauces. Thyme is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin A and is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic. Sip thyme-infused tea for an effective natural remedy against colds, coughs and sore throats. Its oil can also be used to help soothe acne, eczema and psoriasis. Rinse your scalp with a thyme-infused rinse to treat dandruff and other scalp conditions that may cause hair loss.


Rosemary: Add fresh rosemary to fish, lamb, chicken and sautéed mushrooms. It’s also a natural remedy for soothing indigestion, neutralising bad breath and relieving pain.  Rosemary oil or herb-infused water can be used to clear up dandruff, promote hair growth and relieve skin irritation. The aroma of rosemary can help clear the mind and relieve everyday stress, and it is a natural deterrent against mosquitoes and other flying insects.


Basil: Basil is known for its anise-like flavour and intense clove-like aroma. It’s great either for cooking or for creating an invigorating atmosphere in your home. Basil can also be used as a deodoriser, anti-arthritic, topical anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and insect repellent.  When eaten, basil provides healthy doses of vitamins A, K and C, as well as magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium.


Cilantro: The flavour and aroma of cilantro make an excellent seasoning for meats and salsas. Coriander seeds also add a warm spicy flavour to chicken, vegetables and soups.  
Cilantro is high in the anti-oxidant vitamin C, as well as several vitamins and minerals. As a revitalising herb, it aids with digestion and relieves the inflammation that may cause gastric upsets. It is known to have a positive impact on blood sugar, reducing stress in the liver and pancreas and promoting better production of insulin as well as improved digestion.


Peppermint: Add a sprig of peppermint leaves to berries and other fruits, as well as coffee or hot cocoa. Peppermint tea can help to clear sinus congestion, soothe a headache, relax you after a hard day, or help you to stay alert without feeling wound up. The natural oils in peppermint act as a digestive aid and help to relieve menstrual cramps.

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