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Herbs - Uses In The Kitchen

Updated on March 19, 2013
Basil, Oregano, Mint and Thyme.
Basil, Oregano, Mint and Thyme.

There are many herbs to choose from when cooking. Some herbs are ideally suited to some types of meat or vegetables more than others. Of course we all have our own favourites when it comes to herbs.

Growing herbs for your culinary use is simple and convenient. Having your herb garden near the kitchen is helpful and of course many varieties of herbs do well in pots and even on your window sills.


Basil has a lovely aroma and is often used in tomato based dishes as well as in tomato sandwiches. It goes well with eggplant, zucchini, squash and silver beet or spinach. Add basil to any pasta dish. Basil can also be used with seafood, liver kidneys veal and poultry.


Aside from using fennel in cooking it also aids digestion making it a good addition to any meal. The base of the fennel plant can be sliced and used like an onion or cooked as a vegetable and served with a white sauce. Fennel goes great with fish. Ground fennel seeds are good in starchy foods.


Due to their delicate flavour it is best to add chives towards the end of cooking. Chives can be finely chopped and added to salads, egg dishes, mornays and mayonnaise. Nice used as a garnish.


Rosemary is another herb that aids digestion of rich or starchy foods. Rosemary works well with beef, lamb, pork, veal and poultry. Add finely chopped rosemary to bread or scones.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are used to flavour soups and casseroles as well as fish, meat and poultry. Bay leaves are traditionally used in a bouquet garni. These can me made by tying together a spray of parsley, marjoram, thyme and two large bay leaves. Add the bouquet garni to soups, stews and casseroles to flavour while cooking, then remove before serving.


Sage makes up mixed herbs along with marjoram and thyme. Sage can be cooked with eggplant, onions, tomatoes and egg dishes. Sage is often added with other herbs when cooking pork, duck veal and oily fish.


Dill works well with most foods. It is great with omelettes, salads and salad dressings. Try dill in steamed cabbage, coleslaw, cucumber and chutneys. Dill adds a nice flavour to breads and pastries, and can also be used as a garnish.


Along with sage and thyme marjoram helps to make the classical mixed herbs.. On its own marjoram is a great addition to poultry, fish, egg and vegetable dishes and sauces. Can be finely chopped and added to salads, scones and dumplings.


Thyme comes in many different flavours. Thyme can be used in soups, stews, casseroles and with all types of meats. Great in stuffings and sauces. Adds a nice flavour to breads and scones and to green cooked vegetables. Is used in mixed herbs and in bouquet garni.


Oregano has a strong pungent aroma and is used in many Mediterranean dishes. Oregano goes well with tomatoes and with zucchini, eggplant and capsicums. It is excellent in pasta, rice, rissoles, sauces and dresssings.


Carraway seeds are used mainly, but the young leaves can be used in salads and green vegetables. Seeds can be sprinkled in bread dough, biscuits and cakes and over apples, pears and quinces when cooking.


Mint comes in a multitude of varieties. All of these varieties are easy to grow. It can be a good idea to grow mint in pots as they can take over somewhat in the garden. Use applemint and spearmint together to make a wonderful mint sauce. Peppermint makes a lovely relaxing tea.


Tarragon is used in vinegar and with cooked fish. It can also be used sparingly in salads and salad dressings, as well as a flavouring in light meat dishes.


Ground coriander is commonly used in poultry, meat and fish dishes. It is often used as a spice in cakes, gingerbread, biscuits, bread and pastries. Coriander can be sprinkled over apples and pears when cooking or baking. Coriander is used in curries and other Indian cuisine.


Garlic is used in many dishes to enhance the flavour and aroma. Garlic aids digestion. It works well with vegetables and salads as well as with any meat or fish. Garlic is often combined with tomatoes and Mediterranean dishes. Of course garlic bread is an all time favourite with many people.


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    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Anjili. Herbs make a huge difference to the outcome of a meal. i rather like coriander too. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi bravewarrior and thank you for your great comments. Herbs do eliminate the need for a lot of salt, and they can make a dish go from bland to very tasty. I must try using dill more in my cooking.

    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 4 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      I love the way herbs make our meals more appetizing. I've found myself using coriander and garlic often in my meaty dishes. Will try growing my own herbs too. Thanks for sharing.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Tebo, I use just about all of these herbs in cooking. I particularly like thyme and rosemary together. They are great added to light pasta dishes - gives it a zing and eliminates the need for added salt. I also love dill on oily fish, salmon in particular. It gives it such a fresh taste.

      Great info - thanx!

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Victoria Lynn. Thanks for reading and your kind comments. Have to admit I haven't used fennel much either but should do. I see TV chefs using it all the time so they obviously think its worthwhile.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great. I love spices. I have tried most of these but knew little to nothing about fennel. I'll have to save this to refer to!

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you DDE for your very kind comments. I find a few herbs added to a dish makes so much difference to the flavour.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Herbs are so beneficial to most people and this hub has many different kinds of herbs that one should consider using. A helpful hub, and most informative.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Nell Rose. I love basil too, have some growing in the garden, it smells great. Garlic is nice to add to lots of meals. Not so good on the breath the next day but oh well! Thanks for commenting.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      HI rajan jolly. Yes I try to use herbs a lot as they do add so much flavour to cooking. I have some fresh ones in the garden. Thanks for commenting.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Koffeeklatch Gals. Thanks for your comments.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, I love my herbs, basil is one of my favorites, as you mentioned it goes well with tomato, I sprinkle it on grilled tomatoes brings out the flavor, and at the moment I am going through my garlic stage, garlic with this, garlic with that! lol! this is really helpful, and reminds me to use more of them, thanks!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      We use most of these herbs in our daily cooking. Thanks for sharing this useful list.

      Voted up.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a great list of herbs. Thanks for sharing.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks midget38 for reading and I'm glad my hub was helpful to you.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi travmaj. Thanks for your comments and I am pleased you found it useful. Yes I really like basil and coriander too. I love the smell of basil.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Ok, the next time I pick up a spice, I will know what it is used for! Thanks for sharing, tebo!

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Great hub - herbs make all the difference in the kitchen. I'm so fond of basil and coriander - mmm - time to start cooking. Thanks for this.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Claudia Tello. Thanks for commenting and am glad this hub was helpful to you.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Kasman. Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm pleased you found it helpful. Sounds like you do a good job in the kitchen. Herbs certainly make a difference to the taste of a dish.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      I was wondering in what sort of dishes I could use sage in, your suggestions come in handy.

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I'm saving this hub right away. I'm a bit of a chef in the kitchen......I sometimes go by the rule book and measure out things but I also like to spice things up a bit too. My wife tells me I tend to "taste" things out until they are just right! Thyme is actually one of my favorite spices to use in general but especially on ground beef. Great job with the details, I'm voting this one up and sharing tebo!