With hardy herbs, you can spice up your winter menu with healthy greens. We also introduce you to almost forgotten winter herbs that taste great and are healthy.
Fresh herbs are a must for healthy cooking, but in winter the selection of regional herbs becomes smaller. In the herb garden, many plants have “winter rest”, oregano, mint or lemon balm gather their strength in the roots and thus safely get through the winter. Annual herbs such as basil, dill and cress also take a break.
But many of our native herbs still have green leaves even in snow and frost. They contain vitamin C, which we need a lot of, especially in winter. If you do catch a cold, the essential oils of hardy herbs will help. You can grow them in the garden or in the herb garden on the balcony.
hardy herb: parsley
Parsley is easy to care for and grows almost everywhere. In a sheltered location, you can still harvest fresh leaves even in frost. Parsley is especially rich in vitamin C.
It is best to pluck out the parsley when it starts to bloom. You can sow it in August or in spring.
Curly parsley has a milder taste. You should not cook it, because it loses its shape and flavor. It is good in salads, in dressings or for herb butter.
Flat-leaf parsley can be used in stews, soups and sauces. The classic is a marinade of olive oil, garlic and chopped parsley.
Tip: When you season a dish with garlic, add some fresh chopped parsley. The essential oils will prevent the garlic scent.
Parsley is a biennial plant that you can harvest until it blooms in its second year. After flowering, more bitter substances accumulate in the leaves and make them inedible.
If you are pregnant, you should use parsley sparingly, as it could increase contractions. However, small amounts are safe.
winterproof herb: thyme
Thyme is one of the few Mediterranean herbs that you can harvest even in winter. Especially for coughs and bronchitis, a hot thyme tea loosens congestion and has an antibacterial effect.
Thyme comes in many varieties, from upright growing to creeping types. The partly different colored leaves look very decorative in the herb bed or balcony.
In spring or fall, you should cut back the plants, otherwise the shoots will become woody, fewer leaves will form and bare patches will appear.
The spicy aroma of thyme goes great with hearty dishes, like winter stews or root vegetables from the oven.
winter herb: mountain savory or winter savory.
Summer savory is an annual plant, whereas perennial winter or mountain savory is hardy.
The plant is similar to thyme and grows about 20 to 40 inches tall. Savory also has woody stems, so you should cut it back.
The slightly peppery note of savory goes well with thyme in hearty dishes like a bean stew.
Those who know savory only as an addition to bean vegetables underestimate its healthy properties: Savory tea has an antibacterial effect and helps with colds and gastrointestinal infections. The leaves contain vitamin C and tannins, which have an antispasmodic effect and stimulate digestion.
winter hardy herb: burnet or lesser pimpernel
Chickweed is one of the forgotten kitchen herbs, but it should not be missing in any garden. The frugal plant has green leaves even under snow and requires little care.
This makes it a reliable source of vitamin C. In traditional herbal medicine, burnet was used to stop internal bleeding in the digestive tract and to strengthen liver function.
You can pluck the small round leaves from the stem and use them in salad dressings or herbal curd. It also makes a great winter pesto when basil isn’t growing.
You should not cook the burnet, otherwise it will lose its flavor. Traditionally, burnet is one of the herbs in Frankfurt Green Sauce.
winter herb: tripmadam
Many know tripmadam if at all only as an ornamental plant in the rock garden. But it is actually an edible culinary herb that also tastes very good.
The fleshy shoots have a slightly sour aroma.
You can use them chopped for salads and herbal curd.
Tripmadam can be found in the garden market at rock garden plants, you can plant it either in the garden or in a flower pot.
In summer, tripmadam blooms with an upright yellow inflorescence.
winter hardy herb: chives
As soon as the snow melts, the chives sprout. In a protected place in the cold frame or in the flower box you can harvest almost all year round. Chives also contain vitamin C.
- Once you plant chives in your garden, they will grow virtually tirelessly year after year.
- Every three years, you should divide the root ball in the spring to rejuvenate the plant.
- Remember to add an extra portion of compost. Chives need moist nutrient-rich soil.
- If you have too much of it, you can freeze chives and make them last longer.
winter hardy herb: dandelion
Like chives, dandelions sprout new leaves very early in the year. The young leaves are rich in minerals and vitamin C. The tannins they contain stimulate the digestive tract and liver. The plant tastes good as dandelion salad or dandelion tea. Chopped small, it also tastes good in homemade tzatziki.
Tannins make dandelion taste bitter, but you can mix it into green salad to soften the bitter taste. Also, a water bath can help:
- Place the thoroughly washed leaves in a lukewarm water bath for about 30 minutes.
- The water draws the bitter substances out of the leaves.
- Then rinse again thoroughly.
- Prepare the salad.
- You can make the dressing with a little honey.
- If you want to collect dandelions wild, be careful in the spring on fields, there may be sprayed pesticides.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.