Herbs are plants that are used in relatively small amounts to add flavour to dishes. We can use the leaves, stems, roots, and seeds. Some herbs also provide spices like Coriander with its citrus, spicy flavoured foliage and warm, spice and nutty flavoured seeds. Before the introduction of exotic spices during the Norman conquest herbs were one of the principal methods of flavouring food in Britain. Now we use fresh and dried herbs to add depth of flavour across a wide variety of cooking styles and cuisines.
Different herbs grow best in different conditions and are divided by gardeners into perennials ( growing every year ) like Bay trees and shrubs like Thyme and Rosemary, plants with a two-year life cycle ( biennials ) such as Parsley and those that need fresh planting every year or annuals like Basil. Herbs such as Mint and Thyme are used both in the preparation of food and have medicinal uses as well.
Herbs on a Cook’s Compendium