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How to Use Fresh Herbs in Food (Herb Guide)

When it comes to herbs, you should grow what you like. But fresh herbs and spices are also available to buy to a large extent in most grocery stores. Both pre-cut and growing fresh spices in pots.

If you watch cooking shows on TV and listen to expert chefs, you will notice that they use, to a large extent, fresh spices and herbs in their cooking instead of dried. Fresh herbs and spices are rich in flavor and are great to use in cooking, but it is important to know how to use them properly in order to get the most out of them and to make the food taste delicious

In this article, we will go through some common herbs to grow at home, as well as what you need to know when using them in cooking.

When it comes to fresh herbs, what is important about these is that they should be added at the end of cooking in order to not lose all their flavor. If you use dried herbs, on the contrary, add them in the beginning so all of the flavors and aromas can be released.

Coriander

The taste is a mixture of citrus and grass and is used mostly in Indian / Asian cooking. Don’t let that stop you from trying it for something else, for example. wonderful together with a barbecue! Coriander tends to be a herb that splits opinions. Some people love it whilst others absolutely hate it. At least give it a try and see if it is for you!

Mint

Wonderful weeds that taste very different depending on whether you use the green mint (Mentha spicata) or the peppermint (Mentha piperita). The latter is used to create wonderful mojitos or tea, while the green coin is used more in food. There are a plethora of varieties so grow a few at a time so you have for all occasions.

Parsley

Available as smooth-leafed and mug-leafed. Parsley is very nutritious and is common in Italian and Lebanese cuisine. Examples of recipes are parsley salad and the French parsley a type of pesto with garlic and oil.

Basil

Basil is fragrant and aromatic and a must in Italian cuisine. It is best when it is not too old, older leaves can easily become too bitter. Unbeatable with tomato and mozzarella. Examples of recipes with basil are tomato mixture with sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt, and of course pesto!

Thyme

Perennial bush that fits very well with tomato, mushrooms, yellow peas and potatoes, and root vegetables. Some examples of recipes where thyme are particularly good are pea soup and tomato sauce.

Sage

Sage is an ancient spice plant used to get rid of evil spirits and to make women more fertile. This herb has a strong taste and a scent of wood and grass. It goes very well with fatty foods and smoked flavors, such as bacon and pork, but also to some more sweet things such as apple and pumpkin.

If you want it as a snack, fry it in butter and let it drain on paper towels. An example of a recipe with sage is pasta with sage and parmesan.

Lemon Basil

Lemon basil has a wonderful aroma and taste of lemon and is easy to grow. Works as well in food as in desserts. Examples of recipes with lemon basil are grilled chicken stuffed with lemon basil and sugar peas with lemon basil. Another delicious usage area for lemon basil is pesto.

Oregano

Oregano is most commonly known for being used in pizza. But the fact is that Oregano can be used for anything other than Pizza! Fresh and a little citrus in the taste with a little sting. Fits very well with tomato dishes, salad, and lamb. Examples of recipes are Greek salad and tomato sauce with oregano and pine nuts.

Chives / green onions

This is a mild variety of onions that can spice up many dishes in many kitchens. It works very well with egg dishes, noodle dishes, and soups. Preferably used fresh or lightly cooked. Examples of recipes with chives/lettuce are French chives vinegar and omelet with chives.

Dill

Dill is a large-grown spice plant originating in the Mediterranean. It is perfect together with fish, meat and various sauces, but is used a lot in Indian cuisine. Typical recipes are dill meat and fish stew with tomato and dill.

Watercress

This is a very nutritious plant with many health benefits that are very suitable for growing in hydroponic systems as it thrives very well in wet conditions. A little special taste reminiscent of wasabi. Suitable for soups, sandwiches, or salads.

Below are some great herbs that go well together with each other:

  • Rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage.
  • Chives, coriander, dill, parsley.
  • Basil, parsley, chives, mint.

Lemon balm

This herb is perfect to decorate desserts, pastries, bonfires, and drinking glasses. Mix in fruit salad and smoothies, gilded salads, and fish. A sprig in the rosé wine is beautiful. The leaves should not boil. They taste best before flowering.

Fennel

Licorice tasting leaves, swollen leaf brackets, and seeds. The heads are cooked or baked in halves together with beets or with cheese and butter. Thinly sliced, they give a nice flavor break. The herb is suitable for legume, oven baking, fish soup, and salad.

Marjoram

As scented with summer fragrances. Marjoram is perfect together with sour flavors. Both lamb, liver and sausage are even better with this herb. Included in classic Bouquet yarn; a herb mixture where the herbs are usually tied together like a flower bouquet and then used for seasoning.

Rosemary

This is a well-known spice from ancient times, which gives lamb, pasta, and tomato a classic taste and makes fatty food feel light. It makes everyday food into a festive dish. Dried leaves are used for tea, mortars for food. Insert a sprig into the white wine bottle, leave for a while, then drink and feel good.

There are many more herbs that you can combine according to your own taste buds. More importantly, do not be afraid to try something new, who knows if you find a new super combination.

How to use fresh herbs in cooking

Using fresh spices in cooking takes it to entirely new heights. Having home-grown spices tastes the best, partly because they can be harvested immediately before cooking, and partly because they grow slower, which means they have the opportunity to develop a richer taste.

The use of herbs is huge. They are just as good for dinner as in dipping sauces or just served naturally in large bowls.

Spice plants are not their own plant group but originate in different plant families and climates. Therefore, there are both one-year, two-year, and multi-year. Common to all of them is that they want to grow in well-drained soil in a sunny and warm location.

When should you choose fresh herbs in cooking? As mentioned, a basic rule is to use the fresh herbs at the end of cooking to maintain their taste and texture. For example, sprinkle some fresh parsley over the Sunday roast, some fresh basil leaves on the pizza, some fresh thyme in the vegetable soup, or a fist of chopped coriander on your fish tacos. It is also nice and good to have in salads or in a vegetable couscous.

A simple rule of thumb is to replace dried spices with about twice the volume of strong fresh spices and triple if diluted. The tip is to experiment to learn how much you need to add.

Never cut herbs far in advance to when they are to be used. When the cells of the herbs are destroyed, the taste change occurs quickly. Mild herbs such as dill and parsley are especially sensitive – the fresh green and scented tones disappear and are replaced by fruity, high-flavored aromas often accompanied by a grassy herb. Chives quickly taste bad immediately if they are left in front. Use a super-sharp knife and shred the herbs finely. Do not chop them into mash, it is important to damage them as little as possible. And then quickly down with them in or over the food! Prefer not to be tempted to use scissors, it will damage the herbs.

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