The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Spud Sunday: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme

“I like to eat my food, not smell it.”

My 18 year old niece was objecting to the liberal application of herbs on food of any kind.

Rosemary she found particularly objectionable. “Makes things taste all planty”, says she. Well yes, I suppose it would.

I think I can safely say that it not had not occurred to me that a “planty” taste was something to avoid. I forget that copious amounts of herbage may not be to everyone’s taste, being firmly of the opinion that a handful of fresh herbs can do a lot to enhance most things. Like potatoes.

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

My very own parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

As it happens, I have, growing just outside my back door, that very tuneful collection of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, any of which can make a potato sing. You will also find chives, oregano and mint, and they, too, will blend harmoniously with any passing spud. And if I could manage to successfully grow dill, coriander or tarragon, they, too, would join my potato-friendly herbal chorus.

In fact, while I would never, ever object to a simple new potato, boiled and served with butter and salt, add grace notes of mint, dill, chives or parsley and I’ll soon be singing myself.

New potatoes with mint

Boiled new potatoes and fresh mint, a classic duo


  1. Make a potato sing….love it! Great post. These potatoes are singing to me.

  2. Your herbs are growing fine. I also have plenty of home grown sage, lemon thyme, chives, green chili peppers, yellow paprikas & yellow tomatoes!!

    I also love the classic combo of boiled potatoes & fresh mint,…mmmmmmmmm!!!!

  3. The amazing potato – wonderful canvas for the very best ‘planty’ flavors! In my herb garden now: 3 kinds of basil (Thai, Genovese & purple ruffled, dill, cilantro/coriander, parsley, chives, peppermint and Vietnamese mint. I wish I could grow more . . .

  4. My herb garden is growing strong as well and I tend to be a fan of planty flavors. I have dill, but wow, is it a crazy plant. I can’t seem to keep it under control. It is desperately seeking a potato.

  5. Your niece will come round. I have a family member who once stated “There is no place for peas in soup” but she got into it eventually :)

  6. Man, now I have Scarborough Fair stuck in my head. Oh well, at least it’s a good song!

  7. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Lea Ann: aw thank you – I hope they’re in tune :D

    Sophie: new potatoes and fresh mint is such a classic – I love it myself!

    Tangled Noodle: y’know I wish I could grow more too – the many packets of seeds of various kinds in my possession will testify to my aspirations in that department!

    Lori: funny, I’ve had trouble getting dill established – it never seemed to get past the onslaught of slugs during the early stages; potatoes on the other hand… :)

    aoife mc: love it! I have no doubt that she will come ’round eventually too

    Ross: thanks for dropping in and apologies for getting that song stuck in your ear!

  8. I like the planty flavour of fresh herbs in food. On new potatoes just boiled with a spot of butter? Yum!!

  9. I can even imagine an Irish accent saying “All planty tasting”, how freakin cute, nor had it occurred to me either!

  10. Daily Spud

    Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 11:19 am

    kickpleat: me too, love it!

    Chef E: it’s a great way of describing it – I knew exactly what she meant :)

  11. I feel your pain. My youngest hates ‘green bits’ in stuff. I try to explain that they add flavour without the copious amounts of salt that he ladles on everything. Sigh.

  12. Daily Spud

    Monday, July 5, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Ah brilliant E.M., your son and my niece should get together and have a good old moan about green planty bits!

  13. Herbal plants used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine are facing extinction.
    Definite cause of concern, as Ayurveda is increasingly being used around the world to treat various disorders such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, ulcers and many others.

    Some herbs that have been identified are – Ulteria salicfolia, Hydnocarpus pentandra, Gymnocladus assamicus, and Begonia tessaricarpa.

    Conservation of traditional herbs and plants should become a high priority for all. Challenge becomes more severe as many of these herbs grow in the wild and are not cultivated.

    Planet Green (a venture) reported on this earlier this month.

  14. Daily Spud

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I must admit that I was not familiar with any of those herbs Sasha, but thanks for passing that information on.

  15. Those herbs would definitely make my potatoes sing. You know, this year I was determined to have a good selection of herbs in my garden (I am rubbish gardener) so had plants from market in boxes. They were doing really well and then I got my neighbour to water them whilst we were on holiday, the conditions for growth that week were so great that by the time we got back my herbs had gone mad and bolted because she hadn’t picked them. So I have very untidy herbs trying to produce berries, flowers, woody stems and all sorts. Most annoying so I’ll have to resort to Sainsburys after all!

  16. Daily Spud

    Friday, July 16, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Hey Sarah, those ol’ herbs can be tricky things to manage. There are some, like coriander, that always seem to go straight to the bolting stage for me and some that just limp along, no matter what I do! I’m just happy that some of them behave enough for me to be able to make good use of them :)

  17. Recently learned a simple, sswell technique: add herbs to the water as you boil the new potatoes. The woody stuuff (thyme, rosemary) and the intermediates (tarragon, dill) work really well. Then finsh the spuds with olive oil or butter and a bit of parsley or mint or basil. The tarragon/parsley or dill/parsley combo are particularly lovely for a spring meal. You can also toss in a bit of onion or a garlic clove to the water along with the salt.

    • Hi Terry – indeed it is a great idea to add things like herbs and garlic to the cooking water for new potatoes (and thanks for the reminder – I don’t remember to do it half often enough!)

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