Nothing beats the feeling of cooking your family a good feast with the ingredients plucked from your own home garden. Forget the ranch, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, and MSG, spice up your food with some healthy herbs instead. Not only are they bursting with flavor and make great condiments, but there also have plenty of health benefits which can be life-changing to you and your family.
Some plants or herbs can be grown from kitchen scraps, making it a great choice for reducing food wastage. Moreover, you can take this opportunity to recycle pots and bottles used as planting containers, making this planting hobby one step closer to living that zero-waste lifestyle!
Most herbs are pretty easy to grow with soil or through hydroponics. Here, you can plant 7 different herbs at your backyard or on your windowsill or condo balcony. The best part is they require little to no maintenance.
Rosemary is a perennial evergreen shrub with blue flowers. It is known for its strong aromatic and distinctive herb with a sweet, resinous flavor. It is perfect as a finishing touch to meat dishes like grilled fish, lamb, and beef. It also complements roasted potatoes and mushrooms.
This plant is known as a “survivor” plant in all climates. Nonetheless, you should always keep your pot under a sunny spot to avoid from being infected with white powdery mildew caused by airborne fungus.
People also believed that Rosemary can help protect the skin and slow down tissue aging. Its essential oil is very popular as it provides relief from indigestion, anxiety, headache, joint pain, cold and flu.
Growing your own rosemary can not only add a touch of flavor to your dishes, but it can also give you the option to distill your own essential oil or therapeutic oil to sprinkle into your bath water or on your pillow.
2. Thai basil
Thai basil is a popular cooking herb, especially in Southeast Asia. It is most commonly used to add a fresh yet bold and spicy flavor to curries, soups, and Thai salads.
Unbeknownst to many, Thai basil also boasts anti-bacterial that help fight against diseases and boost your immune system. Hence, the old folks love its healing properties as a cough and cold remedy.
Some people hate the smell of coriander, but others love it very much. Coriander is a great plant for newbie gardeners because it is a care-free herb that grows fast and is the easiest to grow.
Every Malaysian is sure to have seen this leaf in their favorite food such as porridge, steamboat, steam fish, and curries. Coriander is usually blended with lime juice, honey, avocado and balsamic vinegar or olive oil to make a yummy and refreshing dressing.
Moreover, research has confirmed that coriander has numerous benefits. Its antifungal and antioxidant properties are wonderful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and fungal infections. Similarly, the freshly ground coriander leaves are fantastic for treating acne or pimples mixed with aloe vera.
Growing mint leaves are relatively easy. Just don’t forget to water them regularly. Mint leaves is used as a garnishing in hot tea and salads due to its refreshing sweet mellow flavor This plant also completes many a Peranakan dish like Assam Laksa, Nasi Ulam, and Nyonya Curries.
For drinks lover, mint is the perfect companion to jazz up popular cocktails, mocktails and even punch. I am sure these will surely impress your dinner guests. Mint leaves have also been prized for its ability in soothing indigestion and motion sickness for generations. So, it is time for you to add a minty element to your home garden!
Dill is a crowd favorite for its strong and distinctive taste with bitter undertones. Commonly added to yogurt, seafood, potato salads, and soups, this plant is a member of the parsley family and is often used as garnishing.
You won’t have to worry about watering it regularly because this sun-loving herb has very long roots. However, remember to plant it in a deep pot as its long roots require quite a bit of room.
Research has proven that dill leaf extract has anticonvulsant effects, which may help treat epilepsy and is also a great source of calcium, iron, and is antioxidant-rich. Drill leaves also have numerous benefits include calming menstrual cramps, lowering cholesterol and reducing depression.
Pandan is known as a must-have plant in every Malaysian’s backyard as its fragrant and aromatic leaf adds a perfect touch to our favorite local desserts such as chiffon cakes, bubur chacha, and as a flavoring in cookies. Pandan leaves can also use to wrap savory foods, such as chicken or sticky rice before steaming them.
In Southeast Asian households, it is common to see pandan leaves bundled together hanging in refrigerators. It acts as a deodorizer and natural room fragrance like a car freshener. The pandan leaves can also make into a tea for combating stomach cramps, lowering blood pressure and alleviating fevers.
Be reminded when planting it in a pot, make sure the pot is deep enough for sufficient root growth and wide enough to support its long leaves.
See what Malaysian says:
Masrina Mohd Nadzir, a part-time home gardening lover says, “Gardening is a great stress reliever and a way for me to connect with nature. I always get great joy from gardening, when tasting vegetables or fruits not available at the local market and when seeing my garden become a playground for birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and even my cats.”
Another food stylist and culinary consultant, CY Phang says,” I hope that when people see the diversity of what I grow in my own garden, they will be inspired to cultivate their own edible gardens at home. I think people are starting to realize that money isn’t everything and there is joy in growing and joy in establishing family bonds and harvesting and cooking. I also think that we don’t have any public spaces for this, so many people go to Semenyih and Janda Baik to give their kids these experiences. However, you can’t go there every day, but you can grow things every day. And through this gardening process, I think people will realize that a lot of things can be grown at home”.