10 Types of Herbs to Farm in Kenya, Their Use and Value
Herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, for medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices.
A lot of people normally confuse herbs and spices, well, the essential difference between lies with what part of the plant they originate from. An herb is a leaf or other green part of the plant. Any other element of the plant would be considered a spice including dried bark, the roots, a berry, seeds, twigs, or other plant matter that is used to season or flavor a dish.
Types Of Herbs
Growing herbs can be highly profitable and fun. It’s really quite easy too. You’d be surprised how many herbs are available and how many of them are huge sellers for a herb business. Some practically sell themselves. Here are some of the most popular herbs.
1. Basil – There are two types; large leaf Italian basil and large purple sweet basil, this plant is popular in many cuisines but also in foods like pizzas, salads, sauces etc. Some people think basil is great for planting alongside your tomatoes to make them taste sweeter but there’s no real evidence that it does. Basil has health benefits of antioxidants and is a defense against low blood sugar.
2. Cilantro/Coriander – Cilantro is also known as coriander leaf or Chinese parsley. Cilantro is perfect for adding to spicy foods and cuisines. The seeds of cilantro are known as coriander. The plant doesn’t like it when the ground becomes too warm.
3. Oregano – Oregano is also part of the mint family. Oregano is a perennial plant but in colder climates can be grown as annually. Oregano is used for flavoring and is a staple herb of Italian American cuisine. Though typically used in small amounts, oregano packs in some important nutrients. Just one teaspoon of dried oregano can fulfill about 8% of your daily vitamin K needs.
4. Parsley – Parsley is a mild bitter herb that can enhance the flavor of your foods. Many consider parsley just to be a curly green garnish for food, but it actually helps things like stews achieve a more balanced flavor. As an added benefit, parsley can aid in digestion. Parsley plants will grow to be large and bushy and is a good source of Vitamins A and C.
5. Bay Leaves – The smell of bay’s noble leaves reminds you of balsam, clove, mint, and some say even honey! Well known for its use in hearty stews and other long-simmering dishes with a slightly sharp, peppery, almost bitter taste. Add the whole leaves at the beginning of the cooking process and remember to remove them before serving.
6. Mint There are several varieties of mint. Mint freshens the breath and will help to calm your stomach. But if you grow mint, remember that it’s considered an invasive plant. Mint will spread and take over your garden. It’s best grown in containers. Mint leaves trigger the release of extra bile from the gallbladder, which is important because it helps the body digest fat.
7. Sage – Sage is an aromatic herb that is great for seasoning meats, sauces, and vegetables. But be careful because sage will have a tendency to overpower other flavors. Sage also helps to relieve cut pains, inflammation and helps with memory issues. It was once thought to be a medicinal cure-all. Sage is an easy herb to grow and is relatively easy to care for. It’s great in your garden for attracting bees.
8. Lavender – Grown for use in salads and dressings, lavender will give most dishes a slightly sweet flavor. Lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used for making lavender scones and marshmallows. Health benefits include the soothing of insect bites and headaches when used with herbs and aromatherapy. Lavender plants will survive in many growing conditions but do best in full sun in warm, well-drained soil.
9. Rosemary – Rosemary is one of the most flavorful herbs and is great for adding to food like meats, and vegetables. The fragrant plant is a delightful scent and is sometimes used in floral arrangements. Rosemary likes its soil a bit on the dry side, so be careful not to overwater. Allowed to flourish, a rosemary plant will grow into a full-sized bush. A good source of iron, calcium and vitamins A, C, and B-6, rosemary has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries.
10. Thyme – Thyme is a Mediterranean herb with dietary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat a range of symptoms and complaints.
These include diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, and sore throat.
Herbs grow well in greenhouses and kitchen gardens and can be enjoyed fresh all year round. But if that’s not an option for you, consider freezing or drying them up for use over a longer period of time.
When you’re considering setting up your greenhouse, please reach out to us.