Wordwise 126 A2854

Spring herbs

  • 2014.04.09

As many of you know, I was raised on a farm and growing my own vegetables is quite a hobby of mine. Now that spring seems finally to have arrived and the snow in my garden has all but disappeared, I think it’s time to start thinking of what herbs I will plant this year.

I like Thai food and make green or yellow curry once a week, and tom yum soup even more often. To add a little freshness to the dishes I usually add fresh coriander. I know that some people find the smell and taste of coriander to be a bit off-putting, so a nice alternative here in Japan is “mitsuba”. The great thing about both herbs is that you can grow them simply from seed. Just sprinkle the seeds over the area to be planted and cover lightly with soil. If you want to keep it producing, cut it back regularly to stop it seeding.

Another great herb to start in spring is parsley. I prefer Italian parsley to more common form, and its great added to salads of sprinkled on pasta dishes. As with coriander, it’s important to keep cutting the parsley back so it doesn’t seed and the leaves stay tender and tastier. A good tip that some people use with parsley is to soak the seeds in hot water for a day prior to planting as the seeds produce more sprouts.

Another favourite of mine is basil. Like parsley you can add it to salads or top pizza or pasta with it. If you plant a lot, you can also make your own fresh pesto! Most people know that basil likes warm weather, but it is quite resistant to the cold too, so you can plant it early in a sheltered place.

Fennel prefers it a little warmer, so sow the seeds directly into the ground in late spring. The fine leaves of fennel are great seasoning for fish, or you can hill up the soil around its bulb as it forms and harvest it later in the year as a vegetable.

Ok, so these are my recommendations for spring. Give them a try and enjoy the taste of fresh herbs in your summer meals.