Fresh living herbs, bought in pots, are a versatile ingredient whose potential extends far beyond garnishing.
They are a fantastic and simple way of packing flavour, colour and aroma into dishes in an instant.
And they have the power to enhance even the plainest of food – adding just a few basil leaves to a tomato pasta sauce packs a veritable extra punch.
Health conscious cooks will find herbs an indispensable ally as they are a fat free and natural way to boost flavour.
Potted herbs last a lot longer than pre-cut packaged ones and yield more leaves than are needed for one dish. And they are diverse, suitable for anything from salad dressings to Sunday roasts.
Make the most of the whole crop with top tips from a range of celebrity chefs.
Atul Kochhar, the Indian chef with two Michelin stars to his name, adds coriander to roast potatoes for a tangy Asian twist. Roast as usual and add finely chopped fresh coriander to finish.
Ready Steady Cook regular Tony Tobin's accompaniment to white fish and salad includes his number one herb. Simply sprinkle thyme leaves over tomato halves with a little sea salt, sugar and olive oil, then slowly dry in the oven at 100ºC for 2 hours.
Celebrity Masterchef judge and all-round foodie expert Jill Brand suggests adding basil to brownie mix. Just when you thought brownies couldn't get any better, bizarrely adding just a few basil leaves will make you think again.
Old-school favourite Rosemary Shrager likes to keep food fresh with mint. She suggests marinating slices of cucumber before adding it to salads, with fresh mint and vinegar for a delicious sweet and sour flavour.
Recipe writer and author Tamsin Burnett-Hall rates chives for their convenience and versatility. For her, freshly chopped chives are the perfect finishing touch to prawns cooked in garlic and chopped red chilli with fresh tagliatelle and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Herb expert, James Seymour, from The Fresh Herb Company shares tips to help your herbs thrive at home* Keep them in bright, draught free places
* Don't refrigerate as this will damage the plant
* Each herb is slightly different, but in general the key is to water little and often
* Add herbs at the end of cooking to maximise flavour