Know your herbs at the Reeth Surgery raised beds

Herbs photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Reeth Surgery community beds have lots of herbs available for everyone to use,  Just a few leaves are great at giving a dish an extra zing and are full of vitamins.

Not come across the herb before? Check the labels to identify it and  try a leaf to see if you like it. Most can be nipped off with your fingers so no need to have any special equipment. 


The beds have both common chives (smaller and milder) and garlic chives (larger and stronger). The stalks can be cut with scissors or just pinched off with fingers.  Chives are best used uncooked so add to dishes just before serving. Use in garnishes, salads, egg mayonnaise, soups, creamy sauces, potato dishes and omelettes. The young flowers are also edible.  Just break up the head into florets and use to garnish a salad.

Lemon balm

This member of the mint family has a lemon taste and can be used to give a lemony hint to many dishes.  It works well with fish, poultry and vegetables as well as in salads, stuffings, soups and salads.  It  also make a refreshing infusion. Best used fresh to get the most flavour.


Lovage is the big tall herb with tastes of celery with a hint of aniseed.  It is quite strong so a little goes a long way. The leaves can be shredded into salad or soups, stews, mashes and scrambled eggs or use to stuff fish or chicken.  Italians add it with oregano (available nearby) and garlic to tomato sauces.  All parts are edible: the roots can be braised, stems steamed and the seeds can be dried and used in bread and biscuits.


Mint is traditionally used to make mint sauce to accompany some local lamb but a sprig can also be added to peas and potatoes to give an additional minty freshness.

Herbs – curly parsley to the left and flat leaf parsley bottom left; lemon balm top left  and mint top right; rocket in the middle and spicy and lemon oregano to the right 


There are two oreganos in the Reeth raised beds. The first is a hot and spicy oregano which combines oregano with the heat of a mild chilli pepper. Add to Mexican and Mediterranean dishes in place of a chilli.

The second oregano is a lemon oregano. You can use it in Italian cooking, either in tomato sauces, on pizza or as part of an Italian dressing.  You can also add it to eggs and sprinkle the leaves over tomatoes. It is generally added towards the end of cooking so that is retains some pungency 


One of the most ubiquitous herbs, this comes in a curly leafed and flat leafed form ( which is said to have a stronger taste). It is widely used as a garnish or add to sauces to accompany fish or gammon. It can be added to almost any dish.


Sage has  a slightly furry texture, so is probably best used cooked.  It is commonly used for stuffing, either fresh or dried.  It can also be used in Yorkshire Toad (toad in the hole with sage, onions and potato added to the batter).  

More herbs – lovage is top, sage bottom left and chives bottom right

While best used fresh, many of the herbs can be dried for use later or chopped and frozen in ice cubes either filled with water or olive oil, and added to hot dishes straight from the freezer.

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