We read and hear of herbs being used in most of the recipes we come across, but do we really need them? Surely the main cooking ingredients carry enough flavour without the need of artificial enhancement? Unfortunately the answer - at least in my opinion - is no! Used correctly, the right varieties and amount of herbs can drag a blandly tasting meal from a base of utter tedium to the level of a veritable culinary masterpiece. And I for one know exactly which one I would prefer.

What are culinary herbs?

Many culinary herbs are perennials such as thyme or lavender, while others are biennials such as parsley or annuals like basil. Some perennial herbs are shrubs (such as rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis), or trees (such as bay laurel, Laurus nobilis) – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both an herb and a spice, such as dill weed and dill seed or coriander leaves and seeds. Also, there are some herbs such as those in the mint family that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

For the majority of everyday herbs, propagation from seeds is a relatively straightforward affair. However, due to the differing parts of the world - and therefore differing environments - that herbs originate from, there cannot be just one single foolproof way of germinating them all. However, I have listed below the propagation techniques required to germinate seed from the most popular herb varieties.

If I have missed out your favourite herb then leave me a message in the comments section and I will endeavour to add it to my list.

All you need to do is click onto your required title below and it will take you to your chosen article. 

And if you want to know more about herbs then check out these titles too:

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