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Whats your top 5 herbs?

Thai Holy basil
Vietnamese Coriander
Coriander
Parsley
Basil

Got to be fresh

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  1. Yes, got to be fresh: thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, cilantro. Pesdestrian selection, I know, but that's my story.

    5 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Mine are the same except I'd swap parsely for bay leaves.

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        And I'd swap your parsley for sage. But otherwise, I'd like your kitchen a lot!

            1. re: MrsCheese

              lemon thyme
              thai basil
              oregano
              chervil
              tarragon

              dill
              parsley

          1. Mint, thyme, marjoram, chives, sage. All happily grow in and amongst the flowers in the garden.

            If I'm allowed two more that I use but don't grow - then coriander and parsley.

            1. Flat leaf parsley
              cilantro
              basil
              sage
              rosemary

              but I also love sage, laurel, thyme, oregano, dill, chevril, chives and mint of all kinds. Oops... guess that is a few more than 5!

              2 Replies
              1. re: marsprincess

                Oh man, I forgot about Sage, yeah I use that alot too. Hmmm can I have more than 5?
                Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay Leaves, Sage, Parsely

                1. re: marsprincess

                  I bought some fresh sage for a recipe and I need some good suggestions to use the rest of it up. How do the two of you use so much sage?

                  My top 5 herbs in order highest to lowest:
                  thyme
                  rosemary
                  parsley
                  dill
                  basil

                2. Basil
                  Rosemary
                  Thyme
                  Cilantro or sage, can't decide.
                  Parsley

                  Basil, parsley, and cilantro must be fresh, but I do use both dried and fresh forms of rosemary, thyme, and sage. Come on, Summer!

                  1. Basil
                    Cilantro
                    Dill
                    Oregano
                    Bay leaves

                    1. Basil
                      Rosemary
                      Thyme
                      Sage
                      Parsley

                      Mint, cilantro and fresh oregano are close seconds, though. I like tarragon and dill too...so hard to choose!

                      1. rosemary
                        thyme
                        basil
                        sage
                        mint

                        All fresh, of course!

                        Also love flat-leaf parsley, marjoram, lavender, bay, tarragon, chervil, chives and garlic chives but the above would be my top 5 if I were FORCED to pick!!

                        1. for fresh herbs I rely upon these....
                          Cilantro
                          Basil
                          Thyme
                          Italiam parsley
                          Sage
                          backup singers are another list!

                          1. Basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme and oregano....with bay leaves and sage rounding it out.

                            1. Flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary and thyme.

                              1. It varies by season. In cooler months, I have to have fresh
                                thyme
                                rosemary
                                flat leaf parsley
                                sage at all times.

                                In warmer months, I drop the thyme and sage and use mostly

                                sweet basil
                                tarragon
                                rosemary
                                flat leaf parsley
                                mint

                                Always fresh.

                                1. My fave fresh herb is rosemary. I love it in so many things. I am with others in liking thyme, sage, bay, parsely.

                                  1. Chive
                                    Parsley
                                    Tarragon
                                    Sage
                                    Dill (been using that a lot recently)

                                    1. Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley - NOT the curly stuff which, in my opinion is useful for garnishes only, NOT for cooking with.

                                      French Tarragon - please don't sub in the Russian stuff, which is weedy & insipid-tasting.

                                      Thyme - English, French, & Lemon.

                                      Basil - regular Genovese, Lemon, & Lime

                                      Cilantro - "Coriander" is actually the dried seed of Cilantro, & thus a "spice" rather than a fresh herb. If you're talking about the green herb, it's called "Cilantro".

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Breezychow

                                        well, in addition to "cilantro," it can also be called "fresh coriander," coriander leaf," or "chinese parsley" as well.

                                        ~~~~~~~
                                        still thinking about my top five:

                                        thai basil
                                        cilantro
                                        curry leaf (eh, this is technically a shrub, so don't count it, ok?,...but bay leaf is also a shrub and not an herb, just being pee-dantic.)
                                        greek oregano
                                        italian parsley
                                        mint or dill......(cheating, i know).

                                        ~~~~~~~
                                        that's my list for now.... ;-).

                                        1. re: Breezychow

                                          "If you're talking about the green herb, it's called "Cilantro".

                                          Perhaps where you are. Where I am both leaf and seed are coriander.

                                        2. cilantro, mint, curry leaves, Italian parsely, fenugreek leaves

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: luckyfatima

                                            cilantro, curry leaves, italian parsley, mint, basil

                                          2. NOT saying it to be cheesy -- my first five go-tos are parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. And bay leaves.

                                            and Herbes de Provence (no lavender, please) -- can't live without it.

                                            1. Very hard to pick just 5. Basil, rosemary, thyme and coriander are great because they're so versatile, but they don't make my top 5 because they get enough love as it is. Parsley makes the list not because I think it's underused, just rarely used right. It's usually an afterthought garnish, but it can be used to make great sauces, pestos and salads (always the bridesmaid, never the bride) Here's my list of beloved underdogs:

                                              Parsley
                                              Chervil
                                              Sorrel
                                              Lemon balm
                                              Savory

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: dbocking

                                                dbocking,
                                                You were the first, and I think only, person to mention Chervil. That is a little surprising and depressing. I love Chervil. I wonder why it does not get mentioned/used more.

                                                1. re: DougRisk

                                                  Sadly, chervil has fallen somewhere deep through the current culinary cracks, and is not often mentioned/used anymore. As a matter of fact, I used it very rarely in my culinary career, going back 25 years; someone (maybe you!) should start a campaign to bring it back to it's former culinary status. It's a lovely herb that's definitely worth growing in your garden.

                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                    Hear, hear, let's bring chervil back! A friend asked me recently to do a chervil recipe for my blog but I couldn't find any the day I went shopping (sigh), so was forced to substitute parsley. I do love parsley (I am also on a campaign to restore parsley to its former dignity) but chervil has got so much going for it. Fresh and light like parsley, but with a slight anise flavor that is far less in your face than tarragon. We use it all the time at the restaurant where I work.

                                                    1. re: dbocking

                                                      Yes, definitely raise chervil awareness, anti-tarragon types would like it for it's more delicate anise quality, parsley afficiados would be very pleased, fish, salad, fine sauce users and egg eaters would be very happy, plus it's a very attractive garnish, the list goes on. I'm glad to hear you use it in a pro setting. It's easy to grow, a perennial and pretty hardy, so dbocking, here's s start, let's bring it back to it's glory!

                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                        in recognition of chervil awareness month, i shall be planting it for my summer herb garden! maybe i can get up an "I heart chervil" t-shirt.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Yes, love that t-shirt idea! I mentioned this discussion to my sister yesterday, as she's starting her yearly herb garden planting. She's very fond of tarragon, and I "think" I convinced her to plant some chervil as well.

                                                          Here's a chow generated recipe, timely for our discussion and for Easter:

                                                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/11703-che...

                                                          And a few easy identification photos for posters who might be interested in growing their own:

                                                           
                                                           
                                                  2. re: DougRisk

                                                    My post above included chervil! Not one that I would use as regularly as my top 5 but I love it and always grow it. So, count me amongst the chervil lover group.

                                                    1. re: DougRisk

                                                      Chervil is just about impossible to grow in our hot climate here in Indiana. I suspect that's the reason for its absence in American cooking.

                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        It's no great bargain in cool areas, either- it tends to bolt very rapidly even there. Actually a lot of the annual and biennial herbs do. Even relatively sturdy fellows such as parsley and cilantro require frequent reseeding- in a dry summer area this requires more commitment than most gardeners have. I would bet that wet summer areas have their own set of problems.

                                                  3. Oregano, I used to annoy my children by singing "It's my Favorite Herb" to the tune of the New Kids song " She's my Favorite Girl". I was put on this earth to torture my children. My wonderful oregano, I planted in an old boiler tub I bought for 50 cents over 20 years ago, is greening up now.Then chives, thyme, basil, sage, I don't care for cilantro, thinking of giving it another chance. I can't afford the price of fresh herbs. I dry the ones I grow and use them in the winter. We do bring the chives indoors but they do go dormant for a while so we are without fresh chives for a little while. During the summer, we cook outdoors and eat on the back patio. I'm lazy and I just set a pot of chives and scissors on the table for any who want them.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: MellieMag

                                                      Oh, I also meant to say that we always plant curly leafed parsley. Monarch butterflys love it and will strip it and have the whole cocoon thing going on there. That is a worthwhile herb to me.

                                                      1. re: MellieMag

                                                        That's great for the butterflies, but the flat-leaf is MUCH more worthwhile to cook with. In fact, there's a giant variety around now that is even more fabulous than the run-of-the-mill flat-leaf. Extremely flavorful. I grew it last year & can't wait to start a new crop this spring.

                                                        1. re: Breezychow

                                                          I agree, we grow flat leaf parsley to eat, but the curly for the butterflies. We usually grow dill, rosemary, basil, oregano, chives, thyme,sage,lavender, others I'm forgetting. We've tried lots of other herbs,some more medicinal, tried growing marshmallow, no luck. I mix herbs in with the flowers in my windowboxes, like the way they look and smell. We ended up with a lot of dill plants that my husband bought for almost nothing. Flower bed turned into a dill bed. I do so love the smell of fresh dill,especially after a rain. Just drifts all over the yard.

                                                          1. re: MellieMag

                                                            In France, there's frequently an enormous lavender bush planted right by the front door, and frequently allowed to hang over the front steps. I could never figure out why THIS BUSH was always left to get so big and hang over, when everything else is carefully pruned.

                                                            It's because when it overhangs the steps/walks, you brush it with your legs every time you enter or exit the house, which releases lavender fragrance to carry with you, and it drifts back into the house. I have a neighbor who gives his a sweeping kick with his leg every time he passes it...and yes, his yard always smells of lavender.

                                                      2. re: MellieMag

                                                        here in the dc area, our chives are perennial outside. i've had a pot of them for 20 years; they're reliable. sorrel also comes back after winter.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Chives are perennial here North of Boston too, and i've had a border of chive plants in the same place now for almost 20 years. Garlic chives have bordered another portion of the gardsn for 15 years.

                                                          Perennials:
                                                          Oregano - Italian, Greek, Yellow
                                                          Thyme - French, Lemon
                                                          Tarragon - French
                                                          Mint - Spearmint

                                                          Annuals:
                                                          Basil - Genovese, Thai
                                                          Parsley - Italian
                                                          Rosemary

                                                          Those are absolutely my Top herbs. Cannot choose just five...

                                                      3. Bay leaf
                                                        Thyme
                                                        Tarragon
                                                        Parsley
                                                        Basil

                                                        Runner-up: Rosemary

                                                        i have other herbs that i use specifically and only those for certain preparations, but those five seem to be the most ubiquitous for me.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Emme

                                                          Your list is exactly the same as mine! Except for the runner-up, that would have to be chives.

                                                          I also want to emphasize my love of French tarragon. I discovered it last summer and bought a fresh plant right away. It unfortunately did not survive my not-green thumb. I bought a new one a few days ago, hopefully this one lives long enough for me to harvest something from it. I'd love to try and make a tarragon-basil oil (with a stronger tarragon flavour than basil)

                                                        2. Hmmmm....

                                                          Coriander
                                                          Mint
                                                          Thyme
                                                          Basil
                                                          Rosemary

                                                          All best fresh from the garden. Kind of boring, I know, but they're definitely what I use most.

                                                          1. Yes to fresh for me too but I do dry my own to use in the winter months
                                                            Rosemary
                                                            Thyme
                                                            Tarragon
                                                            Dill
                                                            Basil

                                                            1. I prefer Summer Savory to both Sage and Thyme
                                                              Basil
                                                              Chives
                                                              Caraway
                                                              Bay leaf

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                just like the song goes. parsley sage, rosemarry and tyme.
                                                                basil makes five.

                                                              2. Answering this was more agonizing than I thought it would be so I had to divide it into three categories:

                                                                For Western food: Oregano, Basil, Parsley, sage, rosemary
                                                                For traditional Laotian food: coriander, swordgrass (a.k.a. culantro), mint, holapha basil, kaffir lime leaf

                                                                Top 5 that I use the most, period: Oregano, basil, parsley, swordgrass, coriander

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: S_K

                                                                  Kaffir limes leaves! I recently discovered them and think they are a great addition to the herb list.

                                                                2. I generally only use what I can grow now because I got sick of the prices in grocery stores. Cilantro is annoying to grow since it goes to seed so quickly so I buy that if I don't have a plant going.

                                                                  Parsley (flat and curly)
                                                                  Chives (regular and jiu cai)
                                                                  Lemon Thyme
                                                                  Rosemary
                                                                  Lemongrass (who knew it was so easy to grow?)

                                                                  I'm going to refrain from listing all the others I grow purely because they smell good and look gorgeous in the garden (but I rarely cook with). There is nothing like tending to your herb garden and coming away with the scent of all those aromatic herbs on your hands~

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mlou72

                                                                    I only grow perennials. They have to fit two criteria - firstly, we use them regularly and, secondly, they look good planted in amongst the flowers (my garden isnt big enough to have a separate plot for edibles so they have to be decorative as well as useful.

                                                                    There are seven and I really couldnt whittle them down to five - mint (two forms), rosemary, chives, garlic chives, fennel, marjoram (two forms) and thyme (four forms).

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      You have the wonderful basics, move the fennel somewhere else, after all, fennel can be considered as more of a decorative plant, like flowers; put in some sage and you'll be all set.

                                                                      Can you leave your rosemary out over the winter, where you are?

                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                        Whoops, forgot I do have sage - and bay. Problem of just picking five gets more difficult but I think I would leave them off.

                                                                        And, yes, all the herbs are perennial and hardy over winter, including the rosemary (although the coldish climate means we don't get too many flowers on it). The bay is very borderline and has suffered badly the last two winters - but I prune off the dead wood, give it a good feed and it's grown away nicely. I grow it as a "standard", surrounded by flowers, about a metre of bare stem then the globe of leaves. Looks great at the minute

                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                          I like sage but do not use it very much. The last time I used it the leaves seemed a chewy maybe I was using the older leaves off the plant.

                                                                          1. re: dryrain

                                                                            The leaves are tough old things - very fine chopping is the answer. When I prune the shrub I usually use the trimmings to sit a pork roast on.

                                                                  2. The ones we have in our garden. Flat leaf parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and basil.

                                                                    1. Does anyone else have the same problem as me. I grow corriander which i do like the taste of. But i know it divides people a lot. There are even some hate sites on the web about it which I find strange! Anyway when ever i grow corriander it always flowers very early. Ouyt of all the herbs i think its the hardest to stop going to seed.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: dryrain

                                                                        it's because a significant portion of the population (from memory it's 30% or therebouts) that are genetically wired to get a grassy or soapy taste when eating fresh coriander (which North America calls cilantro).

                                                                        So if you're not a "soap-taster", there's no way to show or tell you why it is so awful.

                                                                        (I like it in moderation, but too much to me tastes like I've dumped the lawn mower bag on my plate)

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          That is very interesting, sunshine, i didn't know that. I was one of those 'soapy tasters', I would get sucked in because I love the aroma of it. I would keep trying it and not liking it. I was also a 'supertaster' though, so there were other things I really didn't care for. After completely losing my taste from radiation, I now do not mind cilantro and use it sometimes. I also don't mind some of the other items I used to not care for like brussel sprouts, Swiss cheese, sour kraut, and while I have not tried grapefruit, because I cannot handle the acid on my burned tongue, I often wonder if I wouldn't mind that much now either.

                                                                          1. re: Matahari22

                                                                            I think brussel sprouts are the same some people have a strange taste in the mouth after eating them.

                                                                            1. re: dryrain

                                                                              All the Brassicas are loaded with sulfur, which can cause problems for some people, and for anyone if burned. A lot of pregnant women develop strong sensitivities.

                                                                        2. re: dryrain

                                                                          As upthread, I dont have space for annuals but am fortunate in living in an area where the "ethnic" shops always have lots of coriander - good quality and dead cheap. Love it

                                                                          1. re: dryrain

                                                                            i had that problem also until a friend told me to move it to a spot with less sun. problem solved!

                                                                            1. re: esquimeaux

                                                                              oooh, great tip, esq! Who knew shade is the answer. I'm going to try since my top five list includes cilantro, italian parsley (which I put in EVERYTHING), basil, thyme and #5 is a toss up between mint, greek oregano, marjarom, dill, rosemary, chives. I grow all of these (in pots on the deck) and tarragon, and I'm trying stevia this year. I've never been able to find chervil seedlings in the spring. Great thread - the choices and the growing info!

                                                                              1. re: nojunk

                                                                                Chervil is nearly impossible to transplant, even from pots- it will bolt almost instantly (so will dill)- much better seeded in place, though they're still pretty ephemeral. Shade will help prevent some herbs from bolting (it can also seriously impact the flavor), as will heavy feeding with nitrogen, or a shift toward blue in the light spectrum, if you can manage that. They will all, however follow nature's prime directive, to reproduce and begone. Stress, as in excessive drying or a sudden heat wave, will tend to induce a sort of panic stage reproductive cycle.

                                                                          2. Basil
                                                                            Mint
                                                                            Dill
                                                                            Flat leaf parsley
                                                                            Cilantro

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: SAHCook

                                                                              Had to jump in on this one - lots of great lists here, but these are my go-to favorites. It was difficult for me to leave out dill and tarragon. Lots of discussions about the "soapy" taste people get from cilantro recently. I know several of my family members get that... I'm just glad my wife doesn't, because I put it in a lot of food.

                                                                              Basil
                                                                              Cilantro
                                                                              Chives
                                                                              Italian Parsley
                                                                              Mint

                                                                            2. parsley
                                                                              dill
                                                                              oregano
                                                                              mint
                                                                              sage

                                                                              1. Cilantro
                                                                                Basil - Thai or Sweet
                                                                                Spearmint
                                                                                Perilla
                                                                                Chive

                                                                                Fun question, dryrain!

                                                                                1. Ummmm.........ok......... Basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, dill----or maybe something else. I expect to be floored by Mexican oregano (a different species- in fact, genus from the ordinary) if I can ever get hold of some seeds.

                                                                                  1. Basil

                                                                                    Oregano

                                                                                    Parsley (prefer Italian)

                                                                                    Sage

                                                                                    Dill

                                                                                    also
                                                                                    Thyme
                                                                                    Rosemary
                                                                                    Chives

                                                                                    Mint

                                                                                    1. rosemary

                                                                                      basil

                                                                                      chives

                                                                                      Italian parsley

                                                                                      mint

                                                                                      1. fresh: cilantro, basil (Thai/Italian), rosemary,oregano, mint

                                                                                        dried: mexican oregano, bay leaf, espazote, Ital oregano, tarragon

                                                                                        1. I'm one of those "soapy" tasters. I simply cannot abide the taste of cilantro. If it's served to me at someone's house, I can choke it down for the sake of politeness, but I can't get the taste out of my mouth for hours. Yuck.

                                                                                          My top five would be:

                                                                                          parsley
                                                                                          bay leaves
                                                                                          cumin
                                                                                          thyme
                                                                                          dill

                                                                                          1. Curry leaves
                                                                                            Rampe aka pandan
                                                                                            lemongrass
                                                                                            basil
                                                                                            cilantro

                                                                                            1. Hmmm- can I narrow it down?
                                                                                              Basil- Thai or sweet
                                                                                              Marjoram (fresh)
                                                                                              Thyme (fresh)
                                                                                              Cilantro (fresh)
                                                                                              Tarragon
                                                                                              Mexican Oregano
                                                                                              Rosemary
                                                                                              Shiso (fresh, definitely)
                                                                                              Fresh Parsley
                                                                                              Sage

                                                                                              Nope, guess I can't.

                                                                                              1. Hm. Top 5 favorites, as in "wouldn't want to go on living if I couldn't cook with x", or top 5 factually -- how often I use each one?

                                                                                                5 used most often: thyme, cilantro, parsley, basil, sage.

                                                                                                Top 5 for how much I love the taste: cilantro, basil, mint, tarragon, chives. And dill.

                                                                                                I grow all these that I use except cilantro -- and this season vow to do the 'sow every two weeks' thing to see if I can keep it going after the first burst.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                  where do u buy your seeds and/or plants?

                                                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                    I belong to an herb garden club that holds a plant sale every spring with offerings from members' gardens and from local commercial growers, so most of my plants are from there (including starts of sweet and Thai basil and flatleaf parsley).

                                                                                                    For the small amounts of seed I need -- dill, cilantro -- the packets at the farmers' co-op rack have worked fine. If I were going to get a bit more serious about growing from seed (such as for the local farmers' or local-foods market), I'd order from Fedco or Johnny's.

                                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                      I try to use the herbs I grow that have short seasons during their peak, like tarragon and dill, and if I have an abundance sometimes I make them up into butters. Thyme not only overwinters well, but stays usable almost all year. Sage is reliably perennial, but only really good from summer into early winter. Chives are available from May through September, if there's not a month-long super heat wave. Etc.

                                                                                                      In the offseason, there are commercial growers in the area who sell through a small year-round local foods market, and from them there's occasional lemongrass, dill, tarragon, and cilantro. Really helps brighten up late-winter / early spring meals!

                                                                                                  2. Sage, Basil, Mexican mint marigold (tarragon substitute, too hot here for real thing), flat leaf parsley, thyme, and Mexican oregano are the ones I harvest regularly.

                                                                                                    1. Thyme
                                                                                                      Rosemary
                                                                                                      Parsley
                                                                                                      Basil
                                                                                                      Sage

                                                                                                      1. Mexican Oregano
                                                                                                        Basil
                                                                                                        Thyme
                                                                                                        Bay Leaves
                                                                                                        Cilantro

                                                                                                        1. Mint, basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, chives all fresh

                                                                                                          1. I try to keep these growing:
                                                                                                            thyme
                                                                                                            cilantro
                                                                                                            chives
                                                                                                            rosemary
                                                                                                            sage

                                                                                                            Everything else is tolerable from a spice jar.