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Herbs for all seasons

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Use herbs to add more flavour to your food.
Use herbs to add more flavour to your food.

Beginners may have a problem deciding which herbs to plant because of the large number of herbs that are available . A quick check of your supermarket shelf will give you some idea of the types of herbs used in cooking and also will serve as a planting guide. Many cookbooks also offer information on uses of various herbs as flavourings.Following is a good variety of flavours and uses of recommended herbs for beginners:Strong herbs: Winter savoury, rosemary, sageHerbs strong enough for accent: Sweet basil, dill, mint, sweet marjoram, tarragon, thymeHerbs for blending: Chives, parsley, summer savouryAs your interest and needs increase, you can add to the variety of herbs in your garden. Keep in mind that herbs can be annuals, biennials, or perennials when selecting herbs to grow for the first time. Annuals (bloom one season and die) -- anise, basil, chervil, coriander, dill, summer savouryBiennials (live two seasons, blooming second season only) -- caraway, parsleyPerennials (over winter; bloom each season once established) -- chives, fennel, lovage, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme, winter savoury.Outdoor herb culture tipsMost commonly used herbs will grow in the Northeast. If you have room, you can make herbs part of your vegetable garden. However, you may prefer to grow herbs in a separate area, particularly the perennials.Herb garden sizeFirst, decide on the size of your herb garden; this will depend on the amount of variety you want. Generally, a kitchen garden can be an area 20 by 4 feet. Individual 12- by 18-inch plots within the area should be adequate for separate herbs. You might like to grow some of the more colourful and frequently used herbs, such as parsley and purple basil, as border plants. Keep annual and perennial herbs separate. Write to Metroplus Foodline column to clarify all your doubts on food. The queries can be mailed tohydphoto@thehindu.co.in Or snail mail to Foodline, Metroplus desk, THE HINDU, BegumpetRoad, Hyderabad - 500 016 Or call between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 23403902PRADEEP KHOSLA

Executive Chef, Taj Krishna

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