Up & Coming Herbs

Try something new!

The growing popularity of non-European cuisine — driven by the influx of Hispanic, Indian, Korean and Thai restaurants nationwide — is encouraging chefs and home cooks to experiment with flavors like never before!

The trend toward ethnic-influenced cuisine has sparked a revival in some more traditional herbs, specifically those with citrus scents and/or flavors. Traditionally used in cooking, many of these herbs are also used to infuse beverages or ice cubes, as another growing trend in the culinary world is herbal cocktails.

Common Name  Latin Name  Uses, other names, comments 
Eryngium foetidum  (Cilantro) Native to tropical America and West Indies, grown as annual in WI Strongly scented leaves with a flavor similar to cilantro; used fresh as topping
for cooked dishes and salads; used like bay leaves, added during cooking to impart their flavor then removed before serving  Indispensable in Latin American cooking, also popular in Asian cuisine
 Shiso  Perilla frutescens  (Tia To, Beefsteak Plant) Native to Himalayan region of eastern Asia, grown as
an annual in Wisconsin
Unique flavor described as a blend of cumin, cilantro, parsley, hints of cinnamon
Leaves used in salads, tempura, sushi wraps, soups, as a garnish; pairs well
with cucumbers and seafood; salted seeds used in tempura and pickles. Popular in Japanese and Asian cuisines
Regularly clip young leaves for best flavor
Vietnamese Coriander Persicaria odoratum (Vietnamese Mint, Rau Ram) Native to southeast Asia, grown as an annual in WI
Flavor similar to cilantro with a hint of lemon; cilantro substitute
Typically eaten raw in salads and spring rolls; when added to soups and
stir-fries it is added at the very end
Popular in Vietnamese cooking
Vigorous grower (relative of smartweed and knotweed) so growing in a container is recommended; trim regularly to stimulate production of new leaves
Papalo Porophyllum ruderale (Yerba Porosa) Native to Southwestern United States and Central America, grown as an annual in Wisconsin
Leaves have flavor similar to cilantro or arugula with a hint of cucumber
Leaves used fresh in salads or as a garnish Ancient Mexican herb
True French Sorrel rumex scutatus  (Shield Leaf, Buckler Sorrel) Native to Europe, grown as annual in Wisconsin
Black Salsify Scorzonera hispanica (Black Oyster Plant) Native to southern Europe, grown as an annual in Wisconsin hispanica Black colored roots; unique flavor, similar to seafood or artichoke hearts
Grown as a root crop, harvested in fall or the following spring
Look for cultivars ‘Geante Noire de Russie’ and ‘Belstar Super’
White Salsify Tragopogon
(Vegetable Oyster, Oyster Plant) Native to Mediterranean region, grown as an annual in Wisconsin
White colored roots; unique flavor, similar to seafood or artichoke hearts
Grown as a root crop, harvested in fall or the following spring
Look for heirloom cultivar ‘Mammoth Sandwich Island’
 Lemon Verbena  Aloysia triphylla  Native to Central and South America, tropical shrub grown as annual in Wisconsin
Fresh, lemon scented leaves; excellent in hot or iced teas; added to meat
dishes, salads, sauces, jellies, and desserts; mixes well with other herbs
Begin harvesting leaves when plant is one foot tall, regularly pinch back to encourage compact shape; leaves are tough so soak in milk to extract flavor
 Lemongrass  Cymbopogon citratus  Native to tropics of Southern India and Ceylon, clump forming perennial treated as an annual in Wisconsin
Adds lemony flavor when steamed or stewed with other foods; also makes a pleasant tea
Lemon flavor has made it a staple in Oriental cooking
Do not eat the tough stems, discard before serving
 Lemon Balm  Melissa
 Native to southern Europe, perennial in Wisconsin Lemon-flavored and scented leaves used in lemonades, teas, wines, liquors
 Lemon Basil  Ocimum x
 Native to Africa, India and Asia, grown as an annual in Wisconsin Lemon-flavored variety; used in soups, sauces, salads and with fresh vegetables
Fresh leaves are most pungent, but also dries and freezes well
Basils are popular in Italian cuisine
 Lemon Thyme  Thymus x
 Native to Mediterranean region, perennial in Wisconsin Lemon-scented leaves used in teas
Thymes are major culinary herbs used in a multitude of dishes, fresh or dried
 Mints  Mentha sp.  Native to Europe, most are perennial in Wisconsin
Treasured for their refreshing qualities; their smells and tastes have been long
valued for their cooling effect
Leaves and flowers used in desserts, sauces, salads, soups, herbal teas; have
found new popularity with the use in cocktails and herb-infused ice cubes
Jim Westerfield, a mint breeder in Illinois, has patented a line of mints that
have increased the range of flavors including Jim’s Candy Lime™ mint
(Mentha ‘Jim’s Candy Lime’) and Berries & Cream™ mint (Mentha ‘Berries
and Cream’)
A new variety Mojito mint (Mentha x villosa) is becoming a favorite with the
cocktail crowd