Growing herbs in your polytunnel herb garden is a wonderful way to keep pests at bay and attract beneficial insects to your growing areas. Cultivating a herb garden can also dramatically increase the variety of meals that you will be able to make with your home-grown produce. To inspire you to make the most of the herbs that you grow, here are five recipes using common polytunnel herbs:
Basil is a wonderful polytunnel herb and is particularly beneficial when grown alongside tomatoes. Blend up basil with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, seasoning (to taste) and soft cheese (if you wish) and use this vibrant, herby pesto as a dip, with pasta, or in a wide range of other recipes.
Coriander is one of the stars of the show in a simple and easy to make carrot and coriander soup. Simply sauté carrots and onions in a little oil then add some salted vegetable stock. Toss in plenty of fresh coriander and a good pinch of pepper and blend to a smooth consistency and serve with some nice home-made bread.
Vegetable Stew with a Herb Garden Bouquet Garni
A bouquet garni is a traditional combination of herbs that are added to many soups, stews and casseroles in French cuisine. These bunches of herbs usually include thyme, parsley and bay leaf, though they can also include other herbs from your herb garden such as chervil, rosemary, savoury or tarragon, for example. Add flavour to a traditional vegetable stew with seasonal vegetables from your polytunnel by adding a bunch of home-grown herbs to the pot (and removing them before serving).
Mediterranean Roast Veg & Herb Casserole
Mediterranean vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, onions and aubergines are delicious when roasted in a hot oven. Add something extra to your roast vegetable casserole by adding plenty of Mediterranean herbs to the mix. Use thyme, oregano, marjoram and rosemary, for example, to make the most of these polytunnel herbs and enhance this dish.
Cucumber-Mint Raita (Yoghurt Dip)
Make use of mint grown in your polytunnel by making a minty and refreshing yoghurt dip. Blend cucumbers, fresh mint and yoghurt to make this quick and easy Indian side dish, which can be perfect for serving with hot curries or with anything spicy to cool the palate.
Are you making the most of the herbs from your polytunnel herb garden? Let us know your favourite herby recipes in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.