Guide to Fresh Herbs

Usage and cooking tips for eleven common garden herbs.

Cooking with herbs is an easy way to infuse a recipe with flavor without increasing calories or fat. Not sure where to start? Try stirring a handful of basil and some marjoram into your favorite tomato sauce or rubbing a chicken with a mixture of thyme and rosemary before you roast it. Herbs like cilantro and mint are excellent tossed in an Asian-inspired salad. Some herbs may be more familiar to you than others. Experiment with a few at a time until you find ones that you like.


Fresh or dried blossoms impart a delicate perfume to herb mixtures, such as herbes de Provence (for lamb, chicken and vegetables), or can infuse the milk destined for a custard or ice cream. Easy does it when using lavender—you want a subtle fragrance, not the memory of your grandmother’s attic. Dried lavender can be found in specialty and natural-foods stores.

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