Love to cook or bake with herbs? It is essential to know your herbs and spices. They are crucial ingredients flavoring for all types of foods.
To make the most of herbs and spices, you must know them exceptionally well. As we may not be familiar with the natural flavors or effects of many herbs and spices, this article will allow you to learn more about the common herbs used in our kitchen every day.
We’ve gathered a few thoughts and tips that apply to the common herbs we use in our cooking. We want to share the facts and opinions with you and give you ideas to incorporate them into your recipes. We hope you will use them.
Let’s dive into learning more about common herbs and where they come from
Both herbs and spices come from plants and sometimes from different parts of the same plant. For example, herbs are referred to as the leaves, i.e., basil, parsley, sage, and Tarragon. The spices can be seeds or any part of the plant. Examples of spices are fennel seed, cardamom, whole cloves, and cinnamon. Even ginger is considered a spice.
Fresh vs Dried
Do you know which is better? If you answer fresh or dried, you are almost correct. Often, dried is just as good as fresh and sometimes even better. It also depends on how you are using them in recipes.
Dried herbs taste more robust, and it is recommended not to use the same amount in recipes. Unless you are looking for an overwhelming flavor, for example, parsley may be the exception. It also depends on the manufacturer. Have you noticed that certain dried herbs and spices brands are sometimes more flavorful than others? This is due to the soil, harvesting ways, and drying processes.
Dried herbs and spices are best stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. Dried herbs and spics also need to be kept away from heat and light as they fade and lose their flavor.
Fresh herbs will last up to a week or two in the refrigerator. Most fresh herbs can be stored in a perforated plastic bag or wrapped loosely in a paper towel and tucked inside a Ziploc bag.
Basil is the exception. Basil turns brown quickly and must not be stored in a Ziploc bag. Instead, it must be stored with the stems immersed in water in a container or jar and left on the countertop of your kitchen or in the refrigerator.
Using fresh herbs for seasoning
Fresh herbs are usually used to season food. One of the common ways for Caribbean islanders to use fresh herbs is by creating a seasoning blend. Seasoning blends are mixtures of different herbs and spices with an acidic agent such as lemon juice or vinegar.
Recipe: Green Seasoning Blend.
8 Common Herbs and their Substitutions
Basil: a member of the mint family, can be substituted with mint leaves. This fragrant herb is used as herbal tea and in different cuisine worldwide. It also contains compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other health properties.
Scallions: green onions are very popular in Asian cuisines and may be considered a vegetable in many places. Their health benefits are tremendous, and I guess that is why they are used abundantly in cooking. Caribbean cuisine is usually mashed or pureed with parsley, thyme, and garlic to season meat, poultry, and seafood.
Lemongrass: has a hint of mint, citrus, and lemon flavor. It reportedly contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. Lemongrass is mainly used for fragrant soaps, makes excellent teas, and adds flavor to foods.
Oregano: has a strong flavor, so use in moderation. It has a peppery flavor with a slight bitterness. Its substitute is marjoram, but it does not taste as strong as oregano. This herb has been used to smooth sore throat, cough, nausea, and digestive problems. When used with garlic and black pepper, it is the perfect seasoning for pork roast.
Rosemary: a member of the mint family, it is similar to other herbs, such as thyme, oregano, basil, and lavender. All of them are great substitutions. One of the ten herbs that help boost energy and focus is excellent in poultry dishes, especially lamb.
Sage: one of the best savory potent herbs for seasoning poultry and use in various cuisine worldwide. This herb is packed with vitamins and minerals and is also used as a natural cleaning agent, pesticide, and ritual object in spiritual sage burning or smudging.
Tarragon: low in calories and carbs and has various health benefits; Tarragon has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and how your body uses glucose. It is one of the popular herbs used in French cuisine to create tasty and creamy sauces.
Thyme: also a candidate for healthy teas, thyme has been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help provide pain relief. Thyme is also one of the most popular herbs used in cooking worldwide.
These common herbs contain health-related properties that are beneficial to our well-being. It is always good to remember that everything must be used in moderation. The herbs are also used to flavor food. Take time to learn and know how to use these common herbs to create your best dishes.
We are not medical doctors and cannot provide any medical advice. Please consult a doctor before using any of the herbs mentioned in the article.