More Herbs, Less Salt Day: Grow Your Own Fresh Herbs!

August 26, 2011

Herbs 
Basil, parsley and rosemary.

One of my favorite ways to add a burst of flavor to any dish is with fresh herbs. So I smiled when I found out that August 29 is officially National More Herbs, Less Salt Day. Salt may give your food a savory tone, but fresh herbs will give your meals a flavor kick that is dynamic, delicious and sodium-free.

Of course, there is a reason we often add salt to our food and that is because it enhances flavors. Adding salt to a dish can make a bland dish more tasty or bring out the sweeter flavors in baked goods. But as delicious as salt can may be, using too much of it can lead to health problems such as headaches, bloating or even high blood pressure. (You can even inadvertently train your taste buds to only respond to high salt flavors and miss out on the nuanced tastes of herbs and seasonings!)

One great way to remember to have fresh herbs on hand for cooking is to grow them yourself!

Fresh herbs can be grown all year long, inside or outside, and couldn’t be easier to take care of.  To start growing your own herbs, you will need a pot, a little bit of soil, a little bit of fertilizer and a nice sunny spot for them to sit in. You can buy herbs from garden stores or home improvement stores; I got my herbs this year from Home Depot.

You can choose to buy your herbs as seedlings or as seeds. Herbs don’t need to be planted in a huge pot so I think its fun to plant them in pretty coffee mugs or decorative small pots that will look nice on your kitchen counter. If you choose seedlings, you can plant three or four in the same big pot.

Your plants just need the basics: water and light. When you are taking care of your herbs, it is important that you keep the soil wet and fertilized and that your plants get plenty of sun.

Trim any time for quick flavor! Keep your herbs near your kitchen so they are just a snip away from bringing a blast of flavor to your pasta sauce, baked chicken or salad dressings!

Then, check out this great series of 156 recipes that make fresh herbs the flavor focus! (When you are following a recipe that calls for dried herbs, double the amount of fresh herbs you use.)