Great Uses for the Top 10 Culinary Herbs


Garden tip by Cadence Baron, UCCE Master Gardener

Lecturer at the San Diego Master Gardener Fall Seminar

When: 8:45-3, Sat. Oct. 6

Where: St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center

2119 E. Madison Ave.

El Cajon, CA 92019



Cadence Baron is a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers society. She has a small urban farm near San Diego State University, where she grows fruit, vegetables and herbs. At she sells produce, offers garden consulting services and workshops. She will be one of the lecturers (10:30-noon; $15) at the October 6 San Diego Master Gardener Fall Seminar.


Great Uses for the Top 10 Culinary Herbs

There is a whole world of flavor and nutrition that comes with the use of culinary herbs. Adding herbs to your garden and food gives you the best of both worlds: more concentrated nutrition with health benefits as well as a variety of flavors beyond salt and pepper. Herbs bring a depth of flavor and nutrition to almost any meal. They add to your garden’s health as well. Here are the top 10 herbs with some interesting details:


  • Basil, the main ingredient in pesto sauce, is also used to season pizza, hot or cold tomatoes, fish and pasta dishes. Basil is also said to repel insects.
  • Bay, once used to crown the heads of outstanding athletes and intellectuals, is also used to flavor fish, rice and soup. A bay leaf placed in a flour canister will deter bugs.
  • Chives, freshly chopped, are a wonderful addition to salads, meats, potatoes or egg dishes. The grass-like leaves have a mild onion flavor. Related to garlic, chives, which are high in vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, have a diuretic effect that will lower high blood pressure.
  • Dill, which is often used with fish and in soup and meat dishes, is the main ingredient in dill pickles. Dill use dates back to biblical times. It was once an important herb in witchcraft, and a purported aphrodisiac.
  • Garlic is a bulb used in many culinary dishes: roasted with meat, in salad dressings, in breads, butter and even in cookies. It has anti-bacterial properties and some studies have shown that it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Marjoram, like its close cousin oregano, is used in a wide variety of food dishes. Marjoram tea is said to reduce cold symptoms and calm upset stomachs.
  • Oregano is a popular ingredient in pizza, vegetables, meat and tomato recipes. Its name is derived from the Greek word oros (mountain) and ganos (joy). Ancient Greeks believed that cows that grazed in fields full of oregano had tastier meat.
  • Parsley is a biennial herb used for flavoring an immense variety of foods. Its leaves are high in Vitamin C and other minerals. Two tablespoons of parsley contain 153% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K.
  • Rosemary is used in just about every type of culinary dish with fruit, eggs, salads, sauces and meat. It is used as a hair rinse (said to make dark hair shine) and is said to repel insects.
  • Sage is a wonderful culinary herb, especially in meat recipes. It is used in sausage for flavor and preservation. Sage has also long been valued for its historical healing properties to help relieve cold, laryngitis, sore throats and infection in the mouth.
Categories: Gardening