The Garden Digs

Four Easy Ways to Incorporate Herbs into Your Summer Diet

by Marissa Verdi

I was recently inspired after a short visit to a local gift shop to become an amateur herbalist. Prominently displayed at the front of the retailer was a home garden section that included everything from miniature planters to confetti poppers filled with wildflower seeds and different plant books. Having directly sowed some vegetable seeds in my outdoor raised bed as well as pre-planted some petunia seeds and marigold seeds into Jiffy pellets indoors during the cooler months, I was not thinking of adding any more plants to my flora repertoire this year. However, after my eyes glanced over the herb section the thought of growing my own herbs to promote a healthy summer lifestyle was born.

Below are some helpful herb hints that will not only excite your taste buds, but help balance your mind, body, and spirit.

1. Spice up your water!
Drinking water is a great way to boost your metabolism and staying hydrated is an important aspect to promoting overall wellness. Try some of these herb water pairings to make drinking water more flavorful!
  • Basil & Strawberry
  • Rosemary & Watermelon
  • Mint & Cucumber

    Mint Strawberry Tea
2. Boost your vegetable intake!
Most veggies are rich in vitamins and are an essential part to one’s diet. But why do so many people, myself included, struggle to eat the recommended 3-5 portions of vegetables daily? Consider these herb-vegetable pairings to make eating vegetables a more palatable experience!
  • Cook or steam broccoli with chives and garlic for an oniony flavor. Use marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, or thyme to add some spice.
  • Sizzle and crisp up green beans with dill or fennel if you enjoy a liquorice-like flavor or parsley for a refreshing tang. 
  • Infuse stewed tomatoes with basil to sweeten or use mint to give your textured sauce a minty taste.

3. Eat more fish!

Fish are packed with nutrients and loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for a healthy brain and body. Be sure to have the following herbs handy while preparing your filet of fish!
  • Try using marjoram to add some spice to sea bass or shellfish. 
  • Parsley pairs well with flounder, pike, and skate.
  • Thyme can be used to garnish many common fish including haddock, salmon, and trout.

4. Reward yourself with a cocktail!
At the end of a long day, those who are over the age of 21 deserve an herbal drink or two. Allow yourself to decompress with the following favorites from mixologists.
  • Basil with rhubarb and a splash of vodka
  • Muddle blueberries and thyme together and pour in some sparkling Prosecco
  • Grab your cocktail shaker to make a Thai basil and blueberry mojito
Grow Cocktails Gardening Kit

Some of this information above was adapted from the book, Herbarium by Caz Hildebrand (Published by Thames & Hudson). I highly recommend this book if you are interested to learn more about specific herbs and their uses!

Marissa, GardenTrendsMarissa Verdi is a recent graduate from the University of Georgia, earning her Master’s degree in Plant Protection and Pest Management, an interdisciplinary degree in entomology, plant pathology, and crop and soil sciences. Upon completion of her studies, Marissa was welcomed by the GardenTrends team as the B2C Channel Manager and serves as an editor to this blog. Marissa’s passion for gardening was influenced by her parents, avid garden hobbyists, who encouraged her to pick up her first butterfly net and to explore the interactions between insects and their environments.

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