3 Grow-Your-Own Herbs Guaranteed to Impress Your Friends

July 18, 2015 Updated: July 17, 2015

I’m all for convenience. But I’m also a bit of a DIY-snob. Whatever I can make at home is probably going to taste way better than anything I can buy in the store. All it takes is a quick scan of the store-version’s excessive ingredients list, and I end up vowing to never buy it again. If you’re anything like me, you also get excited when summer comes, when not only can you prepare your own foods, but grow your own ingredients, too.

I’m not talking about digging up the backyard and growing my own vegetables here. As fantastic as that may sound, the realities of sunlight and son-likes (my boys “need” that sunny patch of grass for pitching practice and lacrosse tosses) have forced me to think outside the box…and into the container, as it were…as in container gardens of home-grown herbs.

You too can grow your own. Just buy a few “babies”, transplant them into your own organic soil-filled pots at home, and watch them grow. In just weeks, you’ll have enough to invite your friends over for an impressive (but easy…shhh) dinner that you not only made yourself, but grew yourself. Be prepared to earn a reputation as am impressively elegant DIY-er.

1. Mint

Mint is fast and easy growing and looks and smells great. Crush some into an iced tea, or serve up these Mint Juleps, preferably on the veranda (if you have one):

(Jazz Guy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Crush some mint into an iced tea (Jazz Guy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)


What you’ll need:

Fresh Mint Sprigs

Organic cane sugar

Enough time to bring water to a boil, five minutes of boiling time and then time to cool to room temperature. 

In a saucepan, heat one cup of sugar with one cup of water to boiling. Boil for a five minutes, no stirring. Remove from heat, muddle in a handful of mint leaves, then allow to cool and strain into a pitcher. Add 16 ounces of bourbon, a cup of water and a cup of ice, preferably crushed. Stir, pour, and garnish with mint.

2. Rosemary

Hearty rosemary is a great plant for container gardening year-round. Bonus, rosemary has been shown to help reduce the harmful effects of grilling. Grab your kitchen shears and whip up this Rosemary Rub to flavor your protein of choice:

(Alpha/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Rosemary has been shown to help reduce the harmful effects of grilling. (Alpha/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)


What you’ll need:

¼ cup of fresh rosemary
3-4 cloves of garlic
1½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

At least 10 minutes to allow the rub to permeate your protein

Mince the rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper to make a paste (a mortar and pestle comes in handy and looks very impressive here). Massage into your choice of protein and allow flavors to marry at room temperature.

3. Basil

Basil grows big – and fast! Toss into a tomato salad, or make this Basil Pesto as a condiment:

(miss_yasmina/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Make some Basil Pesto as a condiment (miss_yasmina/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)


What you’ll need:

2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed, remove stems)
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts and/or ¼ cup fresh, shredded organic Parmesan cheese (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Food processor or blender
Just enough time to throw the ingredients into your blender of choice and give it a whirl.

Blend it up! The cheese and pine nuts are optional, but both provide softness to counter the garlic. Serve the pesto as a condiment for the protein (and/or grilled vegetables and/or crusty bread). If you want to add a little adventure to your gardening and your pesto-ing, try these unique pesto recipes.

This article was originally published on www.NaturallySavvy.com