Spice up your cooking with herbs

Herbs for Cooking

Herbs are nature’s gifts to us which can add flavor to our food without adding extra calories and unwanted fats. Apart from culinary wonders, many of them have medicinal benefits also. This ensures you get health benefits besides adding flavor and fragrance to foods. The herbs can be easily obtained from the market or grown in one’s own kitchen garden. Growing these in the kitchen garden may come easy on the pocket rather than buying these from the local grocery store.

The herbs can be used in both forms, fresh and dried, let’s take a look here:

1. Fresh herbs vs dried herbs

The herbs can be used in both fresh and dried forms but the fresh ones are definitely better. Stored herbs may have lost some of the fragrance and properties. Although one advantage of the dried ones is that they can be used in parts of the year when fresh ones are not so easy to find. Most of the times the leaves of the plant are used and these can be stored very easily.

2. Cleaning part

Next comes the cleaning part and it is very important that these should be washed in fresh water several times to get rid of any mud remains and other particles. These can then be put on a dry piece of cloth to get rid of excess water. When water has been thoroughly removed these can be easily stored in plastic bags in a refrigerator or a cool place to keep them fresh for a certain period of time.

3. Commonly used herbs

There are a few commonly used herbs. A common herb like parsley is used in soups, vegetables, fish and sauces. It adds texture and color to the dish. Fresh leaves are frequently used in garnishing. Mint is used in beverages and salads and adds a typical flavor of freshness. Oregano is used in pasta and sauces. Similarly, basil is also used with these foods.

Rosemary adds flavor to meat stew and marinades. It adds to the aroma in vegetable dishes and chicken. Thyme is used in mostly in France and it goes well in sauces and soups along with meat or fish. Marjoram is used in stews, eggs and soups. Cilantro is used mostly used during the preparation of Thai and Mexican dishes. Dill adds flavor to fish sauces, cauliflower and cucumber among others. It also goes well with potato salads and steamed vegetables. Coriander is an essential part of Latin American and Asian cooking.

4. Growing herbs in kitchen

Growing herbs in the kitchen garden ensures that you get them fresh and organic, free from any harmful pesticides. These can be grown with a little knowledge about their basic requirements of water, space and sunlight. These can also delight your meals round the year. You can pluck them fresh whenever they are required. These can also be dried and preserved to be used later when these are not easily available. Inclusion of herbs during cooking always ensure healthy and tasty food.

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