One of the first things that I did after moving to Belgrade was to buy Mediterranean plants to have fresh herbs on my balcony. This is just one of the little things that will help me to continue to live my Mediterranean lifestyle in this big continental capital.
You can grow practically any herb you want on your balcony, it just depends on sunlight, space and weather.
I decided to plant the ones I use the most but I also did a little research on the internet on which herbs I should choose, which are the most important.
For now, I have rosemary, sage, basil and mint to use in the kitchen and two little lavenders to give my balcony a more Mediterranean look 🙂
Parsley – I use parsley a lot. It goes great in veggie dishes but also in soups, minestrone, sauces, pesto and salad dressings, not to mention fish.
Mint – gives a refreshing flavor to iced drinks and desserts. You can add it to berries or other fruits, coffee or hot cocoa.
Rosemary – I most often use rosemary when baking potatoes, fish, or in meat marinades. You can dice it and add it to meat sauces. Also, rosemary keeps the mosquitoes and insects away.
Sage – the smell of sage immediately takes me to Istrian fields. For cooking sage makes an excellent seasoning in sauces and poultry dressings. In Croatia sage sauce is often served with ravioli. Just put diced sage on olive oil and let it cook for a few minutes and you’ll get a great sauce for ravioli or homemade pasta. You can also add pancetta for some more taste.
Basil – is one of the most popular kitchen herbs in the world, with it’s anis-like flavor it’s great for cooking and decorating the dishes.
I got them at the open market and the lady told me that I should keep them outside during the whole winter. It can get really cold here, but I guess the heating in the apartment would also hurt the spices.
And I’ll think about thyme, marjoram, coriander and chives.
In general, soft herbs like basil, chives, coriander are usually added at the end of the cooking process and they have the biggest effect on the taste of the food when used fresh. They are more delicate and need care and attention when growing.
Woody herbs like sage and rosemary are doing best when kept on a dry and hot location. They don’t need so much attention but they also need water.
Although it’s probably better to have slightly larger pots, I decided to start with small IKEA pots because I like how they look.
And how to take care of the herbs? They need to be watered, they need to be able to drain, they need enough space to breath and to be pruned regularly.
I will put some photos of the whole balcony once it’s all nice and ready to be shown…
Lots of love from one Medinterranean girl trying to survive in a big concrete city! 🙂