While Ina Garten famously believes that “store-bought is fine,” she’s still a big proponent of using fresh ingredients when it comes to cooking in her own home. In her new Food Network show (available on Discovery+), “Be My Guest”, Garten invites several prominent figures to cook with her at her iconic East Hampton estate. Central to several recipes are a variety of herbs, which Garten is able to source from her sprawling herb garden.
In the first episode, Garten and Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”) made halibut with herb butter. The duo trimmed rosemary, parsley, tarragon, chives, sage, and thyme from the herb garden, before adding them to the dish.
“Fresh herbs, there’s nothing like it,” Margulies said. “I don’t want to go to the supermarket to buy herbs.”
“I know,” Garten replied. “I love walking outside just to plant herbs.”
In a later episode, she took Willie Geist (“Today Show”) on a tour of the garden and shared its origins. The space used to be a farm, Garten explained, and it didn’t turn into a garden until the mid-‘90s when her house was being built. She also has a crab apple orchard and an abundant crop of tomatoes, which she dubbed “Tomato World.”
During an Instagram garden tour last summer, the “Barefoot Contessa” displayed some of the herbs, including lots of lavender. She also shared her tips for people without garden space who are interested in replicating the look in their own home, recommending keeping pots of herbs on the kitchen windowsill.
There are a variety of easy options for at-home herb “gardens,” regardless of your living situation. For small apartments that don’t get a lot of light, a high-tech, multi-herb planter with an LED light might be the best solution. For people with a little bit more outdoor space and access to natural light, a terraced herb garden may be the way to go. As for which herbs you should start growing, it’s ultimately up to personal taste, but Garten routinely sings the praises of rosemary and oregano.