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A pick of French herbs and spices

SINCE I starting using a wheelchair I felt there were things I was missing out on, writes Coral Luke.

So, while not being an avid gardener, I do know what I like to see, how it is laid out and the aroma of certain plants. I then decided to badger my husband to let me have a section of garden that I could call my own.

I would need a way of gardening from my chair and that would not prove to be that straightforward as our garden is quite small.

That would rule out raised beds for a start but we have seen some form of tiered container holder that looks like it will work. I would also need a table that I could sit at to plant out seeds and cutting. So my demands are not that easy to put into practice it seems.

We discussed what I could grow as some vegetables could be ruled out straight away as not being able to have raised beds meant I wouldn't be able to tend them.

We decided that herbs would be the most practical and useful plants to grow and of course these can be grown in pots on windowsills.

In October last year I was diagnosed with diabetes and the dietician told be that I could not have sauces on my meals and while I was in hospital I found the meals very bland. When I got home I decided to start adding herbs and spices to my meals to give them more taste.

Herbs are useful in many ways and can be used to make teas and in medicinal ways; to help you sleep for instance. I don't drink 'normal tea' but herbal teas suit me very well, I have a cup of chamomile tea to help me relax and sleep.

Knowing the herbs and spices I wanted to use was one thing but finding what they were called in French was a different matter.

Whilst some are easy to recognise others I would never have guessed what the translations were.

I decided that I needed a list so I wouldn't have to keep looking them up. So I set about compiling one to keep in the kitchen and decided to share it with others who want or need to add taste to their meals without adding calories or increasing their cholesterol or glucides.

French herbs and spices

Allspice (Pimento) : Tout épice
Angelica : Angélique
Aniseed : Anise
Basil : Basillic
Bay Laurel : Laurier
Bergamot : Bergamotte
Borage/Starflower : Bourrache Officinale
Cardamon : Cardamome
Caraway : Carvi
Cayenne : Piment de Cayenne
Celery : Céleri
Chervil : Cerefeuil
Chicory : Chicorée
Chilli peper : Piment
Chive : Ciboulette
Cilantro (Coriander) : Coriandre
Cinnamon : Cannelle
Coriander : Coriandre
Cloves : Girofle
Coltsfoot : Tussilage
Cow Parsnip : Berce
Cumin : Cumin
Dandelion : Pissenlit
Dill : Aneth
Evening Primrose : Onagre
Fennel : Fenouil
Fenugreek : Fénugrek
Feverfew : Grande Camomile
Garam Masala : Massalé
Garlic : Ail
Ginger : Gingembre
Horseradish : Raifort
Hyssop : Hysope
Jasmine : Jasmin
Juniper : Genévrier
Lavender : Lavende
Lemon Balm : Citronelle
Lemon grass : Lemongrass
Lemon Verbena : Verveine
Licorice : Réglisse
Linden/Lime : Tilleul
Linseeds : Lin
Lovage : Livèche
Mace : Macis
Mallow : Mauve
Marjoram : Marjolaine
Mint : Menthe
Mustard : Moutard
Myrtle : Myrte
Nasturtium : Capucine
Nutmeg/Mace : Noix Muscade
Oregano : Origan
Parsley : Persil
Peppermint : Menthe Poivrée
Poppy : Pavot
Pot Marigold : Souci
Pumpkin : Cirouille
Red pepper : Piment
Rosemary : Romarin
Saffron : Safran
Sage : Sauge
Samphire : Criste marine
Sesame : Sésame
Star Anise : Badiane Chinoise/Anis étoile
Sunflower : Tournesol
Tansy : Tanaisie
Tarragon : Estragon
Thyme : Thym
Turmeric : Curcuma
Vanilla : Vanille
Winter Savoury : Sarriette Des Montagnes
Witch hazel : Hamemélis
Wormwood : Absinthe
Yarrow : Millefeuille

You can learn a little more about Coral's move to France, and how she is currently battling Fred, the name given to her arthritis.

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J Roger Clifford-Banks

How about hanging baskets for herbs? I always think we tend to grow too many different herbs; Parsley, Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Chives, and Tarragon are probably the most useful.


Have you considered old chimney pots or plastic piping of different heights. Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

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