4 Best Herbs to Grow in the Kitchen + Storing & Drying

The center of the home is the kitchen. It is a place where people congregate, cook, and feed one another.

It’s also one of the most suitable places to keep plants because there’s less worry about water damage or messes, thanks to wipeable countertops and sweepable floors. And there’s always a water source available (you can sprinkle them with water from the sink or give them a quick soak).

You’ll find four helpful herbs you can grow in your kitchen below and suggestions for keeping greenery out of the way since this kitchen can be such a busy space. 

1.) Basil 

basil growing in a kitchen.

We all agree that basil and juicy tomatoes go together beautifully. Grocery stores frequently offer the ubiquitous green variety in bundles and as growing plants.

African blue basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum), a blue variety, might not be available at your neighborhood grocery store. Still, its deep violet blooms and eye-catching stems make it worth looking for.

It thrives in direct sunlight and should be protected from drafts during the winter. Plant in a pot with a drainage hole, and keep the soil moist but not soggy. 

2.) Lemongrass 

lemongrass slices on a kitchen counter.

This Asian cooking staple has a tropical fountain look that rivals many ornamental types of grass in appearance and also has a citrusy fragrance.

Use the stem’s tender, green base in stir-fries and curries, or use the leaves as an infusion in tea.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), which prefers direct sunlight, is an excellent addition to a sunny windowsill; ensure the soil is kept damp but not soggy.

Harvest frequently to encourage new growth, and if you have extra, dry it out or freeze it, so you always have some on hand. 

3.) Oregano 

fresh and dried oregano in the kitchen.

Both marjoram (Origanum majorana) and oregano (Origanum vulgare) were known as the “joy of the mountain” by the Greeks. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite made oregano as a representation of joy.

When dried, its peppery, pungent aroma becomes more pronounced.

Allow the plant to receive direct sunlight for optimum growth and only water when the soil feels dry. 

4.) Thyme 

freshly grown thyme herb.

Thyme was burned in Greece as a sacrifice to the gods, and medieval soldiers thought taking a bath in it would give them courage.

Choose a variety that appeals to you from the more than 350 available, including the golden variegated lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus ‘Aureus’).

Thyme pairs well with chicken and vegetable dishes, invigorate a pot of tea, and, when its oils are crushed, can be used to make a simple at-home mosquito repellent.

Water the plant when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil becomes dry, and give it direct sunlight or at least six hours of bright indirect light each day. 

2 Options for Growing Herbs in Kitchens

AeroGarden

Photo: AeroGarden

The AeroGarden is a high-tech, compact hydroponic system that is expensive, but it’s well worth it. It has an LED lighting setup that promotes photosynthesis and plant development, even throughout the winter and in dimly lit spaces.

Urban Leaf Indoor Herb Garden Kit

Photo: Urban Leaf

The Urban Leaf beginner kit for a herb garden includes everything you need to cultivate fragrant, fresh herbs on your windowsill. Cheaper than the above AeroGarden kit, but it gets the job done.

Includes: A wooden planter box, specialized soil discs, biodegradable coco coir pots, chic bamboo labels, and non-GMO basil, cilantro, and parsley seeds are all included in each package.

Storing & Drying

Here are a few easy methods for growing and storing herbs in your kitchen, whether you are just starting out with a single plant or are a culinary expert who wants a wide variety of flavors at your fingertips. 

Hanging or Staging Your Kitchen Herbs

herbs drying in kitchen.

Keep your herbs in their grow pots and arrange them in a pretty cachepot for an easy way to store them.

You can also find grow boxes with a tray to catch any extra water, which can perfectly accommodate three 4-inch (10-cm) grow pots. As the seasons change or when a culinary inspiration strikes, pop pots in and out. 

Make your own hanging herb garden out of a multitiered fruit basket, a kitchen staple. As an added upgrade, pair with low-cost terra cotta pots that have been painted in the color of your choice. 

 The ‘Kent Beauty’ oregano, grown more for appearance than flavor, makes the ideal hanging plant because it produces pendulous flowers with a strong fragrance. 

Cutting the Herbs

Freshly cut the bottoms of the stems after purchasing herbs at the market, then place the herbs in a vase with cool water. 

To keep the water clear, remove any leaves that are submerged. Then, instead of fumbling with a jumble of greens, you can separate each herb into its own slot using a multi-mouthed vase. 

Cut herbs can stay fresh for a week or longer if you change the water frequently and keep them out of direct sunlight, even though this storage method is more transient than keeping a potted plant.

During this time, they will fill your kitchen with their enticing scents! 

Hanging & Drying the Herbs 

Hanging dried herbs will extend their shelf life and add a splash of color to your kitchen wall. 

Herbs should be bundled and hung upside-down for a few weeks, after which they should be kept in an airtight container away from direct light and used within a few months (their flavor will gradually fade). 

Oregano, sage, and thyme dry more attractively than rosemary and basil do if you plan to keep the herbs on display.