Home Lifestyle Basics on Keeping Cooking Herbs at Home

Basics on Keeping Cooking Herbs at Home

by Lorena

A few months ago when I finally moved to a place I knew I would stay for at least 2 years, I went ahead and bought cooking herbs to keep and harvest. I am completely in love with them and am obsessed with taking care of them and watering them. Even using them in the kitchen results in another level of satisfaction.


Herbs are so useful when cooking. They can really add a different spin to a recipe you know well. They’re super fragrant and make great garnishes for your dishes as well. They also come with this big responsibility because if you don’t take care of them they will wilt and die (it has happened to me!). I never got the whole “please water my plants while I’m away” thing until I got them.


I’m going to name a few herbs that are, to me, the most common you can keep at home and the most versatile in cooking as well. I’ll give you the basics: use, sunlight and water needs.


  • Uses: thyme has a really fresh scent that goes really well with acidic preparations: so anything with lemon or orange zest, tomato sauces, pizzas, cheeses, wine sauces, caramelized onions. An example is this lemon and turmeric chicken.
  • Sunlight: full sunlight
  • Water: not much, only water when soil is dry


  • Uses: peppermint is my favourite to make infusions. I like to make tea with it alongside lemon and ginger on cold nights. As it has a milder flavour than mint, it also goes well if you want to chop some up to top a dessert where you want your guests to actually take a mouthful.
  • Sunlight: full sunlight or part shade
  • Water: always keep the soil moist, tends to require daily watering


  • Uses: Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs. It goes amazing with mediterranean vegetables such as aubergines / eggplants, zucchini, tomato and also cheese. I also like it with potato wedges and oven baked chicken. A good example is this flatbread I made 🙂
  • Sunlight: full sunlight
  • Water: Little water, only when soil dried up.


  • Uses: orégano goes great with Italian dishes and, like thyme, is a nice addition to lemony preparations. If you want to see how to use fresh oregano go to my recipe for gnocchi with leek and oregano sauce.
  • Sunlight: full sunlight or part shade
  • Water: little water, only when the soil is dry


  • Uses: Mint is also great for making infusions and garnishing desserts. A leaf sitting on top of a dessert can make a whole lot of difference. Mint also is a great companion in sauces for meats with strong flavour such as venison and lamb.
  • Sunlight: full sunlight or part shade
  • Water: always keep the soil moist, tends to require daily watering


I don’t have one of these but I’ll leave you the info anyway 🙂 I’m in the lookout for a really nice basil plant.

  • Uses: ENDLESS. I love basil and am constantly making pesto and salads with basil. It’s so fresh ir even goes great with fruit salads and lemonades.
  • Sunlight: full sunlight
  • Water: not much, just when the soil feels dry. Try not to get the leaves wet.


I don’t have sage either but am also in the lookout for a nice plant

  • Uses: love sage for pork and in general it goes nicely with sweet sauces in savoury dishes.
  • Sunlight: part shade
  • Water: little water, only when soil feels dry



I think this is the best tip ever for growing herbs at home. When you buy the plant, you immediately want to use it and that makes sense and you’re totally allowed to. However, you cannot clip them anywhere or they will not grow back but rather is will loose whatever was left of that sprig. What you need to do is clip them always right above a growth (where two leaves grow out of the stalk) and from then, two new sprigs will grow. Down here I’ll show you examples of times I did that and how it grows. This is really helpful in making your plant grow in size as it will become more and more bushy and you will be able to harvest more and more. So any time you see larger sprigs coming out trim them at the right point even if you want just the leaves.


This is the last piece of advice 🙂 Since we have to trim out herbs constantly for growth, of course you’re not going to waste those precious leaves. Instead, put them in a glass with water as you would flowers to keep them longer until you’re ready to use them in a dish.


I hope these tips are useful to you guys and you can start having herbs at home to add flavour and aroma to your preparations 🙂


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