You know it’s spring when your herbs start sprouting.

That’s our parsley you see there, aching to be transitioned to the window box. And the basil, suffering from some colic but certain to grow more now that it’s at least outside.

I look forward to growing fresh herbs for lots of reasons. Mostly because they taste so good. And because it’s fun. And also because it’s so silly to go to the store for a bundle that’s been trucked in from who-knows-where but that you could have grown yourself, and then race to use it before it spoils (although I still do this with cilantro. Can never get that stuff to grow, but I love me some guacamole).

The last reason for going out and getting yourself some seeds? You can be gosh-darn-sure that your herbs are cross-contamination free.

OK, ok, fresh herbs aren’t really a source of cross-contamination. But they are gluten-free and delicious, and that’s worth talking about.

This year, we’re shooting for basil, flat-leaf parsley and chives. Our rosemary is still kicking from last year, so we’ve got that going as well. We’d try for more, but space is limited – although as mojito-season approaches I might try to make space for a pot of mint.

How to cook gluten-free with herbs? Here are some of my favorites:

  • There is no such thing as an herb that doesn’t taste good on scrambled eggs
  • Almost-ditto for a shepherd’s salad of cubed cucumbers and tomatoes, shaved red onion, olive oil and maybe some feta and/or pitted olives. Mint and parsley might be the favorites there, but oregano, marjoram, dill, etc. all work too. If you sub out feta for mozzarella and toss in some basil, you’ve just made your shepherd Italian.
  • You can steep lots of herbs into a nice fresh tea. Just be sure to rinse them first and pop them into some sort of straining ball. My favorites are sage, lavender and spearmint – but maybe not all together.
  • It’s after 5 somewhere, and I definitely heard someone say mojito (oh wait! That was me). Of course mint, lime, sugar, club soda and rum over ice is the classic – but check out these gluten-free cocktails with herbs from The Kitchn.
  • Butter. Take your herb(s), rinse, dry and rough-chop, and mush together with some nice, sweet butter. You can press it into an ice cube tray or between some foil and freeze or refrigerate it. Or, use it that day on corn, steak, steamed veggies, rice, a hunk of our favorite gluten-free bread, your fingers…
  • 156 other things. The folks at Cheap, Healthy, Good have compiled a greater list of herbaceous recipes than I could hope to. Just be sure to use your gluten-free grocery guide to find safe ingredients.

What herbs do you keep in your garden? What kinds of gluten-free dishes do you cook with them?