Herbs can be used for cooking or medicinal purposes. And some herbs can be used for both purposes. This segment covers three examples in the onion family that can spice up your cooking dishes. And, learn the difference between garlic and regular chives!

Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org

Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

People think of herbs as culinary, which mean herbs that we use for cooking such as sage, rosemary and thyme. But, we also have herbs that we think of as medicinal. In this garden we have a small gingko tree. And, we have some echinacea and valerian that are often used for herbal teas.

However, there are a lot of plants that are both medicinal and culinary. One of the best families that are an example of that is the onion family. In April, in an early spring garden we have three examples of a plant that is both culinary and medicinal. We have Egyptian Onions. Sometimes they’re called walking onions, and I have some at home that I call winter onions. They start coming up in March, and they’re ready to eat now. You don’t have to wait for your full season onion crop, and you can use the roots and the tops. They keep coming back year after year – they replant themselves.

In front of me are the garlic chives. And we also have some regular chives. The main difference between the two is that garlic chives have a flat leaf and a white blossom, and regular chives have a round leaf and a purple blossom. But they can both be used the same. They’re great to chop up and put into a stir-fry. And the blossoms can be used in a fresh salad.

So, these are nice examples of the onion family. It’s medicinal as well as tasty in your cooking dishes.

This feature story prepared with Rhonda Janke, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Sustainable Cropping Systems. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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