Summertime is the perfect time to grow and harvest your own fresh herbs or buy them from your local farmer’s market. Even if you don’t have a yard (aka apartment living), you can throw some herb seeds or starters into some pots and grow them on your porch or deck.
There is something so incredibly satisfying about snipping your own herbs while preparing a summer meal. It feels like classic summer and makes me feel like more of a real chef! No chef training here, just lots of passion and self-learning.
Herbs not only elevate your meal, but they also boast many health benefits.
I will share 5 common herbs that you can easily grow or find at the farmer's market or grocery store along with their health benefits.
Health benefits of 5 common herbs
Basil is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This herb contains vitamins A and C, as well as zinc and iron. It may help reduce stress, improve digestion, and help to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar.
Mint can help with digestion, soothes stomach discomfort, and helps alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Mint is a particularly good source of vitamin A, which supports vision health. It also provides a refreshing and cooling effect to your beverages and meals.
Cilantro is a good source of vitamins A, C and K. The leaves of this plant contain folate, potassium, and manganese. It may help promote digestion, reduce inflammation, support brain health, and may help manage blood sugar.
Dill contains essential oils that possess antimicrobial properties. It is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin A. It can aid digestion, alleviate bloating, and may also have a calming effect.
Parsley is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants. It helps support bone health as well as heart health. It can also help with digestion and may help reduce inflammation.
Now that we’ve broken down some of the health benefits, let’s move on to the summer recipes.
The Minty Watermelon Lemonade will be a big hit at your summer parties and you will get many nods of approval when you serve the Basil Cilantro Sauce over salmon or chicken.
Minty Watermelon Lemonade
- 4 cups diced watermelon
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Ice cubes
- In a blender, combine the diced watermelon, lemon juice, mint leaves, and sweetener (if desired).
- Blend until smooth.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any pulp or seeds. If you prefer this as a smoothie, no need to strain.
Serve over ice cubes and garnish with additional mint leaves.
Get 30 more summer hydration recipes here!
Basil Cilantro Sauce
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor or blender, combine the basil leaves, cilantro leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Blend until the mixture forms a smooth sauce.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Serve the \sauce with grilled vegetables, fish, or chicken.
Next time your cooking, remember to snip some herbs from your garden for a fresher, healthier meal.
If you’re reading this in the winter, consider getting a hydroponic garden. I have one and was able to grow different types of basil and lettuce all winter long. Well worth the investment!