As consumers develop more adventurous palates, they are more likely to try new culinary herbs as well as new vegetables.
Here are some of the lesser-known herbs that are gaining new fans among chefs and home cooks.
- Thai and citrus basils are important ingredients in Asian food. Purple basils are a gorgeous garnish. Several basil varieties are great in micromix, harvested at the two-leaf stage; we recommend Italian Large Leaf, Cinnamon, Thai Magic, Dark Opal, and Red Rubin.
- Chervil is an important component of fines herbes, the French combination of delicate herbs used to flavor many Mediterranean dishes. The other ingredients in fines herbes are parsley, chives, and tarragon.
- Cutting celery has the flavor of celery but is much easier to grow. Both leaves and stalks can be used in place of celery. If you want to convince chefs to buy your cutting celery, direct them to the Environmental Working Group's list of The Dirty Dozen, conventional produce most often contaminated by pesticides. Conventional celery is at the top of the list.
- Lovage leaves also can be used as a celery replacement.
- Dill is new again, thanks to increasing interest in pickle making.
- Lavender is showing up in all kinds of recipes, from roast chicken to shortbread cookies.
- Mints are popular in many cuisines, and trendy in cocktails.
- Salad burnet tastes like cucumber and can be used as a salad ingredient or chopped for cooking. Leaves have to be harvested young, as they tend toward bitterness when mature.