I've never had fresh herbs. If I needed some parsley or something like that for a recipe, I'd use the bottle of dried parsley that came with the spice rack that my mom got when she first came to America twenty plus years ago. It tasted like shaved cardboard, and apparently, you can't do that. Dried herbs should be used within 6 months, and they should look perky and eager to be used. Dried parsley should still be green, and cayenne pepper should be fiery red. As I've started to cook more and more, I've slowly raised my standards on spices. Though dried spices are better for certain kinds of recipes (i.e. ones that require long cooking times), I got sick of spatting jealously at recipes that called for fresh sprigs of this and that.
First, I started cultivating herbs from seed. For some plants, this is painfully easy. You really can't mess up with dill and basil especially if you get the little seed starter kits from Daiso (1,000 won).
Rosemary is infamously difficult to cultivate from seed. It takes 3 months to friggin' germinate, and usually, it doesn't. I still have a barren pot of soil I water every once in a while, just hoping the rosemary will sprout up one day. When I finally went to the flower market in Yangjae, I quickly realized that it's really much easier to buy potted herbs and grow them from there, especially since they're only 2,000 won each.
|Peppermint, lemon thyme, Italian flat-leaf parsley, basil, and rosemary - all 2,000 won a pot.|
She's located inside the greenhouse situated closest to the building selling pots. If you're coming from Yangjae Citizen's Forest Station on the new Sinbundang line, it's the greenhouse farthest from the entrance. Inside door 4 (on the side of the building closest to the flower pot-vending building), she's the first vendor as you walk in.
|Main entrance of the Yangjae Flower Market.|
I wish they had cilantro, thyme, and oregano, but they don't. She said maybe in the summer time. I've managed to grow my own cilantro from planting the cilantro I bought at the grocery store after I chop off most of its leaves.
I'm not one with a "green thumb," and it's a small miracle that I've been able to grow such a thriving plant colony. But honestly, it's so easy. I google to find out how often I should water and how to trim them, and then let them green all over my kitchen. Just the aroma from rustling my fingers through their leaves is a killer.
|Look at how big they've gotten!|
|Peppermint (= mojitos)|
|Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley|
If you're taking a bus, get off at aT센터 양재꽃시장 (aT Center/Yangjae Flower Market). The following blue buses run here: 140, 405, 407, 408, 421, 440, 441, 462, 470, 471. Two green buses stop here: 4432 and 8441. If you're shopping at the Yangjae Costco or E-Mart, you might as well stop by because it's only a 15-minute walk away.