8 unusual herbs to spice up your life
Or your cooking and cocktails at the very least! Get your chops around these unusual herbs, perfect for everything from pepping up your barbecue to sweetening your mojito. Arriba!
Craving a cocktail? Moroccan mint is sweeter than the ordinary garden variety, so you can lay off the sugar in your mojito. Or *when you’ve had too many mojitos* it makes a zippy herb tea. If you use it to pep up spuds, you only need to pop a sprig on the top with the lid on to lightly steam at the end of cooking to ramp up the flavour.
bread seed poppy
One for the Star Baker in the family. It’s not too late to sow this gorgeous poppy now as it comes up fast in a sunny spot with large papery blooms that fade to leave the classic dried pepper pots full of seed – some to shake around for flowers next year and some to sprinkle on bread dough for a delicious nutty flavour.
More lemony than a lemon, without the tart greenness when you add it to lemonade or home-made ice-cream. So summery as a herb tea, you can almost taste the health. Grow it in a pot and move indoors in winter.
The hardiest citrus and and the easiest as you just need the leaves rather than the fruit to give Thai curries that authentic kick. Stronger than the dried types in a jar, so you need only a leaf or two in your wok. Keep it on the patio in summer and in a frost-free porch in winter you might get the odd just-as-flavourful wrinkly fruit too.
The clue’s in the name: this is a tall, upright rosemary with stems you can use as skewers on the BBQ griddle. Cut the stem to length, strip off the leaves and thread on tasty bites like halloumi and pieces of veg for a rich, aromatic bite.
An underused herb which is a shame when just a single leaf, a young one nipped from top and slightly ripped, adds an extra savoury layer to stews and casseroles. And it looks cool grown as an evergreen lollipop tree either side of a door, all year round.
oregano hot and spicy
Turbo-charged and spicy, chop it up small and mix in with a splash of rum as a meat marinade. The perfect herb for kettle barbecue as it’s robust, holding its own against those smoky undertones.
Love liquorice? One to sow now in a cooler spot, chervil’s is perfect for creamy sauces and buttery garnishes as it cuts through the cloyingness of dairy, adding a delicate aniseed vibe. Very more’ish.