Herbs: More Than Flavor
Timeless Nutrition Tips...
Use herbs in your diet in place of sugar, salt or fat to help provide a health benefit, especially for people with diabetes.
Herbs such as rosemary, parsley, tarragon, basil, thyme and dill are plants that contain phytochemicals and are currently being studied for cancer-fighting potential similar to ingredients found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
In addition, some herbs may contain antioxidants. Oregano and rosemary are herbs known to be high in antioxidants. Rosemary has also been used as a natural food preservative to help keep fats, oils and meat products from going rancid.
Other herbs with antioxidant properties include basil, marjoram, sage, thyme, spearmint and peppermint.
Easy Ways to Add Herbs to Foods You Eat
- Sprinkle pizza with oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme or parsley.
- Add a mixture of herbs (oregano, basil, and marjoram) to marinara sauce.
- Steam fresh vegetables with rosemary.
- Add chopped mint to fresh fruit.
- Mix herbs into a favorite casserole or salad for extra flavor.
- Make herbal tea using spearmint or peppermint.
- Top seafood with dill and parsley.
Compliment Your Cooking with Herbs and Spices
What herbs and spices compliment beef?
- Try allspice, bay leaf, cayenne, cumin, curry powder, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, black pepper, rosemary, sage or thyme.
What herbs and spices compliment poultry?
- Try basil, bay leaf, chives, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry powder, dill marjoram, paprika, parsley, poultry seasoning, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, or turmeric.
What herbs and spices compliment lamb?
- Try basil, cumin, curry powder, dill mint, oregano, rosemary, sage or savory.
What herbs and spices compliment pork?
- Try allspice, bay leaf, caraway, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, marjoram, mustard, rosemary, sage or thyme.
What herbs and spices compliment seafood?
- Try allspice, bay leaf, cayenne, chervil, chives, cumin, curry dill, fennel marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme or turmeric.
What herbs and spices compliment winter squash?
- Try allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, mace, ginger, or nutmeg.
All that cooking leave behind an unpleasant odor? Dispel those odors by adding a few drops of clove, cinnamon or any citrus essential oil to a simmering pan of purified water.
Top Ten Most Potent Herbs and Spices
According to the Journal of Medicinal Foods, the top ten most potent herbs and spices are as follows:
- Cloves. The oil and the extract are used commercially to flavor meat products, condiments, spiced fruits, candies, chewing gum, wines and liqueurs. The distilled leaf oil which is milder, is also used to flavor meats.
- Cinnamon. Commercially, cinnamon is used to flavor baked foods, meats, candy, pickles, chewing gum, soft drinks, ice cream and liqueurs. Cinnamon is an amazing spice with many health benefits.
- Jamaican allspice. A clove like aroma and a heavy sweetness. Used whole in poached fish stock, vegetable and fruit pickles, wild game. Used ground in cakes, puddings, cookies, gravy.
- Apple pie spice. Commonly a combination of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice and ground ginger. Adds wonderful flavor to baked goods such as apple pie, strudel and baked apples.
- Oregano (ground). Used extensively in Greek and Italian cooking. Pairs well with tomatoes, eggplant, and any meat. Pairs well with pasta dishes.
- Pumpkin pie spice (mixture). A flavorful spice blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
- Marjoram. Mainly used in stuffing
- Sage. Sage and onion stuffing for ducks, geese and pork enables the stomach to digest the rich food.
- Thyme. Add thyme to stocks, marinades, stuffing’s, sauces and soups. Thyme aids digestion of fatty foods. Add to chicken, fish, hot vegetables, fruit salads and jams.
- Gourmet Italian spice. A very unique blend of Thyme, Rosemary and sage. Brings a taste of Italy to your table.
The Mortar & Pestle
The grinding, crushing, and mashing action of this stone age food processor bursts the cell walls of fresh herbs and whole spices, releasing impressive amounts of fragrant flavor. To use, place foods in the mortar and push down with the pestle, using a twisting downward motion. With hard items like peppercorns and coffee beans, lightly pound first to form cracks. Choose a mortar and pestle made of a strong material such as granite that is not prone to chipping.