General Guide for Using Herbs
Cooking tips for the caring cook.
Herbs can be used in all types of cooking, depending on what you like.
Try growing the following herbs for use in your favorite recipe and cooking styles:
- Southwest: Oregano, basil and cilantro
- Oriental: Clementine, thyme, cilantro, curry coriander, marjoram, ginger mints and lemon grass
- Italian: Oregano, marjoram, basil and parsley
Add herbal flavor to pasta while it cooks. Put a large handful of fresh herbs in the bottom of a pasta pan, then put a pasta insert in the pan. Add water, heat it to boiling and cook the pasta. When the pasta is done, drain it and discard the herbs.
When making fruit compote, try adding some herbs, such as sweet cicely, mint or basil to bring out a sweeter flavor.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of soaked and drained fresh herbs or garlic cloves onto hot coals. This will add extra flavor and a wonderful aroma to grilled meats as they cook.
Store Bought Fresh Herbs
If you buy a bunch of fresh herbs (parsley, mint, coriander etc.) and do not use it all, wash and chop the remainder and keep it a plastic container in the freezer - instant fresh herbs when you need them.
Flavor it up with herbs! Instant coffee may not be your favorite choice of this herbal beverage (yes, coffee is an herb!), but it can be improved. Try a couple of teaspoons of one of these refreshing mixes in a mug of hot water. Start with a basic mix of 2/3 cup instant coffee and one cup sugar.
- For a mint-flavored mocha, add 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves (powdered) and 2/3 cup non-dairy creamer.
- For an orange-mocha treat, add 1-1/4 teaspoon crushed dried crushed orange peel, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of cloves.
Meal Time Medicinal Value of Herbs
Set up a good herb and spice cabinet and season your food liberally, and you could potentially double or even triple the medicinal value of your meal, because herbs and spices are some of the our most potent antioxidants.
This is especially true if you use spices on food you intend to eat raw, as cooking reduced the spices antioxidant levels by 45 to 70 percent in the above study.
Herbs and spices have very low calorie content, they are relatively inexpensive, and they are a great way to turbo-boost the natural antioxidant and anti inflammatory power of your diet. Not to mention that they taste great!
Herbs and Spices as Antibiotics
Research now shows that it is health-savvy to sprinkle herbs and spices in your food all year long. They act as potent antibiotics, blood thinners, anti-cancer agents, anti-inflammatory, insulin regulators and antioxidants. In tiny doses, eaten regularly in food, common herbs and spices are unique health boosters.
Strongest Antibiotic Herbs
The most ferocious killers of 30 bacterial species in Corness University tests are (in order) as follows.
- Bay leaf
- Cayenne pepper
Strongest Antioxidant Herbs
- Coriander (cilantro)
A test at the University of California, Davis, finds thyme similar to vitamin E in antioxidant power.
Dried vs. Fresh. All forms have similar benefits. The healthful compounds are more concentrated in dried herbs and spices.
Warnings. Spices may be more beneficial taken together than taken separately. Proper doses are unknown.
According to the Journal of Medicinal Foods, the top 10 most potent herbs and spices are:
- 01. Cloves (ground)
- 02. Cinnamon (ground)
- 03. Jamaican allspice (ground)
- 04. Apple pie spice (mixture)
- 05. Oregano (ground)
- 06. Pumpkin pie spice (mixture)
- 07. Marjoram
- 08. Sage
- 09. Thyme
- 10. Gourmet Italian spice