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Growing herbs inside is easy and healthy

Minnesota winters can be tough, but that doesn’t have to stop you from growing herbs. Herbs can make meals more flavorful without having to add more salt. University of Minnesota Extension provides guidance to help anyone grow herbs indoors. Some of the most commonly indoor-grown herbs are basil, chives, dill, parsley and cilantro. 

How do I grow herbs at home?

Growing herbs inside requires a few things: water, light and care. Herbs need sunlight. Suggested locations could include a table, countertop in the kitchen, or a windowsill, just make sure it isn’t too cold or drafty. Water the herbs when the soil is dry to touch or if the leaves start to droop. Never let your herbs sit in stagnant water. Good drainage is needed for healthy, growing herbs. Extension has lots of info about how to grow herbs at home and how to care for them. 

Cooking with herbs

By cooking with herbs, you can make a flavorful meal using less salt. The recommendation for daily sodium and salt intake for the average person is 2000 mg of sodium or 1 teaspoon of salt. Strategies from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 suggest flavoring foods with herbs and spices instead of salt; which you can do with the herbs you have growing in your home. Some places to look for nutritious and tasty recipes are:

  • Real Life Good Food: University of Minnesota Extension recipes, cooking tips and physical activity ideas for a healthier life. 
  • Cooking Matters Recipe Finder: This recipe finder allows you to search by special diets, meal type, family friendly or no-cook options, and by time to prepare. 
  •  MyPlate database: Find recipes on the USDA MyPlate database complete with nutrition info, shopping lists and estimated costs per recipe. 

Whether it's mint in a morning smoothie, basil in a spring roll, or cilantro on a corn and bean salad, enjoy fresh flavors that feel like summer all year long. 

Author: Cassandra Twiggs, CMP MPH intern

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