How to unlock fuller flavours from your herb garden

Oh, the rewards of cultivating your own homegrown herb garden. Aside from the huge impact your own garden has on your lifestyle, you’ll have convenient access to fresher and a heartier supply as compared to store-bought herbs prone to wilting. Herbs have so much to offer not only in savoury dishes but sweet treats and bespoke drinks as well. Explore how to best pair and utilise herbs with this guide to genius hacks.

When ‘thyme’ is of the essence, space doesn’t always matter

Creating a herb garden doesn’t require a lot of space. You could work with small pots, window boxes or for the herbaceous lovers, larger beds. It is possible to get more out of small spaces with our guide to maximising garden space, which includes tips on vertical gardening, zoning and more. And for those wanting to add in a veggie patch as well, starting up a kitchen garden is a great idea. When creating a kitchen garden, spatial planning and plant pairing goes a long way to optimise your resources available.

Understanding herbs

Herbs are an incredible way to add an extra dimension to your dishes. From filling the air with aromatic notes of savoury, sweet or minty, to making a mark on a palate and memories. Herbs are closely tied with the benchmark of good cooking and culinary knowledge, from pairing to preparation.

Herb hacks (without the hacking)

When working with herbs, understanding their composition is key to unlocking their fullest potential. The major components of any herb is rooted in its leafiness, as compared to spice coming from bark and other features. When using herbs, there is a difference between using the whole leaf and chopped herbs.

For whole leaves, it is best to use them at the beginning of cooking as it takes a longer time to draw the flavour from the intact leaf. As for chopped leaves, the cutting breaks the leaves’ cells and lets out the aroma. To avoid loss of flavour, only add chopped herbs in dishes just before serving.

Pairing dishes with herbs

Use this guide to find the best match for your meal and more.


The best herbs for meaty meals include basil, corianderdill, marjoram, parsley, and thyme. Sage is best in gamey meats and mint is purely for lamb (think mint jelly). Use oregano and rosemary for dark meats.


Make fish delicious with basil, chives, coriander, dill, parsley and thyme.


For chicken, turkey and more, use chives, dill, sage, mint, tarragon and thyme.


For Asian inspired or vegan-friendly dishes, use chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, mint and parsley.


Enhance your vegetables with basil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and thyme. For root vegetables, use rosemary and sage as great additions for roasts.

Fruit and citrus

Think fresh salads and fruit cups. Add a bit of basil, coriander, parsley, rosemary, mint and tarragon in for a spritz of sensational.

Additionally, mint is sweet in chocolate, parsley and chives do well with dairy and mint, and tarragon makes legumes even lovelier.

Cocktails, gins and fresh drinks

Garnishing a tray of refreshing drinks? Try adding in mint, rosemary, thyme, sage or even a sprig of lavender to your next celebratory sundowners. Mint is a dynamic delight in infusions, garnishes and in muddles, whereas sage is best enjoyed sparingly as it packs a lot for your palate. Lavender is the next best-kept secret for instant flavour and presentation points.

Handling herbs from your herb garden

Follow this guide to get the fullest flavour, straight from your herb garden.

Leaves best served chopped, torn or enjoyed whole

  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Tarragon

Leaves best enjoyed when just chopped or served whole

  • Coriander
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Infuse, but don’t bruise

Typically, the larger stems of the plant (toward the root end) are woody, less flavorful or just not edible like mint. However, rosemary’s woodier parts are great for infusions. Just crush your rosemary stem with the blunt end of a knife to access the flavour. Tarragon and oregano stems are also divine in stocks, soups and sauces.

Basil, thyme, and tarragon have delicate stems at the tips and are susceptible to bruising. We recommend tearing and roughly chopping the leaves and adding them into stocks, soups and sauces.

Unearth the potential of your herb garden

May your dishes never be the same while you have your herb garden handy. For more ideas from our gardening experts, visit or contact your nearest Plantland store.

Both cilantro and coriander come from the Coriandrum sativum plant. In the US, cilantro is the name for the plant’s leaves and stem, while coriander is the name for its dried seeds. Internationally, the leaves and stems are called coriander, while its dried seeds are called coriander seeds.