Without herbs and spices, food would be bland and boring. Herbs enhance a food’s natural flavors and provide extra zest. When used appropriately and in moderation, herbs create a livelier and tastier meal. When in doubt, add just a pinch of the chosen herb at a time, near the end of the cooking process (so the flavor does not boil away).
Fresh herbs can take a dish from good to great
Explore the different types of fresh herbs available. With a little imagination, you’ll soon be creating your own exciting combinations. Select a garnish based on the dish’s ingredients. Use lots of fresh chopped herbs like chives, Italian parsley, mint, or cilantro; they add flavor and color that really perks up a dish. Always remember to purchase herbs in small quantities, since they do not last forever.
When preparing a dish that requires a lengthy cooking period, it is best to use a small, tied bunch of fresh herb sprigs. This bundle is referred to as a bouquet garni, and customarily contains parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. Herbal combinations can also be minced and added to a meal immediately upon completion of cooking, or as a garnish added just before serving. This French practice is referred to as fines herbs. To make fines herbs, combine finely chopped fresh thyme, chervil, tarragon, parsley, and chives in equal proportions.
If your spice cabinet or garden contains only a bare minimum of fresh herbs, you are missing out on an enchanting culinary experience of living. Once you commence to utilize fresh herbs in your beloved recipes, you’ll never want to go back to using just dried herbs all over again. Your spirit will be captivated.
Fresh herbs are one of the nature’s utmost offerings that contain a lot of essences. A modest amount goes a long way. You do not need much to make an extraordinary impact in your cooking.
Ever question why everything tastes exotic and exudes mouth-watering aromas when you devour at an excellent café? It is by and large because of the seasoning. Extraordinary chefs know that fresh food is always best and that includes fresh herbs.
Great food can be very simply prepared, but add a few fresh herbs and you have created a work of art. Once you achieve the art of seasoning with fresh herbs, you will be astounding your guest with your incredible culinary talents.
Herbs make great garnishes, as well. Here are some of the best types:
- Basil: Opal basil, lemon basil, anise basil, clove basil and cinnamon basil.
- Chives: Common.
- Mint: Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, and pineapple.
- Parsley: Curly or flat.
- Thyme: Common, creeping, and lemon.
- Lavender: Munstead.
- Oregano: Greek.
- Sage: Broad leaf, golden, tri Color, and pineapple
- Tarragon: French.
- Lemon Grass: East India.
- Dill: Mammoth and fern leaf.
- Rosemary: Common.
- Cilantro/Coriander: Santos, long standing, slo bolt, and leisure.
- Cumin: Common.
- Bay Leaves: Turkish and Californian.
- Chervil: Flat-leaf and curly-leafed.
- Fennel: Bronze and common.
- Marjoram: Wild, winter or common.
- Sage: Garden, pineapple, Russian, purple, golden, and berggarten.
- Sorrel: Garden and French.
A garnish can be as ordinary as a sprig of a fresh herb—adding flair to set off the food and tantalize the eyes. If used properly, herbs and spices enhance a dish’s flavor; but they can effortlessly overpower a recipe when overused. Parsley and chives can be added in relatively large quantities without altering the flavor of the dish too much, as their flavors merge more easily than other herbs; they will add a nice color to the dish when sprinkled in at the last minute.
This is a list of some of herbs and spices that are said to have special powers.
- Almond: Money, prosperity, and insight.
- Basil: Love, exorcism, prosperity, flying, and shield.
- Cinnamon: Psychic awareness, and shelter.
- Curry: Creates a safeguard.
- Fennel: Fennel confers protection.
- Garlic: When eaten, garlic acts as a lust-inducer.
- Ginger: It is largely true of find irresistible spells.
- Ginseng: A powerful lust-inducing drink, whether alone or mixed with other like herbs.
- Lavender: Ancient scent used for security, relaxation, and curing.
- Mint: Money, adore, desire, curing, exorcism, journey, and armor.
- Nutmeg: Brings visions and magnetizes prosperity and vigor.
- Parsley: When eaten, parsley arouses lust and promotes fruitfulness.
- Sesame: Riches and hunger for.
- Tarragon: Inhibits exhaustion, and stimulates the desire.
- Thyme: Daring, Self-belief, and helps restlessness and despair.
- Vanilla: Passion, craving, and mind energy.
Fresh Fragrances and Flavors
To preserve the bold flavors and colors of your fresh herbs, place the herbs in a deep bowl of chilled water. If a small amount of water is used, the water will grow dirty rather than dilute the dirt. Once the herbs are submerged, swish them around and leave them to soak for a moment. As the water settles, the dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl, which is when you can remove the herbs by pulling them up and out of the water (be careful not to disturb the dirt!). Rinse the bowl or sink free of dirt and repeat this process until the herbs are cleaned to your satisfaction.
When the herbs have been washed, place them onto a dry towel. Carefully dab them dry and wrap the towel around them, allowing them to sit until they have dried significantly. Pick the leaves off the stems; completely remove any trace of the stem for aesthetic results. Some herbs, like cilantro, have edible stems that do not need to be completely removed. Herbs can be tossed into a salad or pasta, used whole in a sauce, torn, or chopped.
The freshest, least expensive herbs are those you grow yourself! Start a small herb garden indoors any time of year and stop paying grocery store prices; herbs are relatively easy to grow and the seeds will not cost more than a one-time store herb purchase. Begin your garden with the herbs you use most frequently. If your specialty is Italian cooking, for example, choose basil, oregano, and fennel; for potpourri, choose lavender and lemon verbena; for making your own teas, grow chamomile, peppermint, and blue balsam mint.
Chives are among the easiest herbs to grow. Keep a pot growing indoors for instant garnishes—snip two long chives and balance them decoratively on the food or edge of the plate, crossing them near the stems for a classy touch.
A spice is defined as a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative essence used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavoring. Imagine what cooking would be like without the unique flavors provided by herbs, spices, and the many other seasonings available! The history of spice use travels back about four thousand years to the Far East, and spices have been an essential part of many of the world’s great cuisines ever since. Nowadays, we take black pepper and the other spices over which wars where once fought for granted. At one time, only kings and other affluent people could afford such a delicacy as cinnamon. Today, all supermarkets are well-stocked with a gratuitous selection of herbs and spices, seemingly more than one kitchen could ever use.
The term spices is often used loosely to indicate all seasonings. The word, however, has a specific meaning: spices come from the bark, roots, leaves, stems, buds, seeds, or fruit of aromatic plants and trees; these typically grow only in tropical countries. They add zest and character to cooking with their flavor and aroma. As a house chef, you should have an ample collection of herbs and spices on hand to enhance the flavor of your dishes.
Smell spices before purchasing them to be sure they are aromatic and pungent. Purchase dried herbs and spices from a busy market with a high turnaround so you know they haven’t been sitting on the shelves for six months or more.
Some of the most common spices are:
“Ajowan, Allspice, Amchur, Angelica, Anise, Annatto, Asafoetida, Barberry, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Cumin, Bergamot, Black Lime, Boldo, Borage, Bush Tomato, Calamus, Candlenut, Capers, Caraway, Cardamom, Cassia, Cayenne, Celery, Chicory, Chiles, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Cubeb, Cumin, Curry Leaf, Dill, Elder, Epazote, Fennel, Fenugreek, Galangal, Garlic, Ginger, Hoja Santa, Horseradish, Hyssop, Jamaican Sorrel, Juniper, Kaffir Lime, Kokum, Lavender, Lemon Grass, Lemon Balm, Lemon Myrtle, Lemon Verbena, Licorice, Lovage, Mace, Mahlab, Marjoram, Mastic, Melegueta Pepper, Mint, Mustard, Nigella, Nutmeg, Onion, Oregano, Orris Root, Paprika, Parsley, Poppy, Pepper, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Sassafras, Savory, Scented Geranium, Srew Pine, Sesame, Soapwort, Sorrel, Star Anise, Sumac, Szechwan Pepper, Tamarind, Tarragon, Tasmanian Pepper, Thyme, Turmeric, Vanilla, Wasabi, Watercress, Wattleseed, Zedoary.”
Some of the most common herb and spice blends are:
- African and Middle Eastern Herbs and Spices Blends: Baharat, Berbere, Chermoula, Dukkah, Harissa, La Kama, Ras el Hanout, Tsire, Za’atar (Zahtar).
- American Spice Blends: Apple Pie Spice, Cajun Blackening Spice, Chili Powder, Old Bay Seasoning, Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- Asian Blends: Chinese 5-spice, Chinese Seasoned Salt, Shichimi-togarashi
- British Blends: Mixed Spice (Pudding Spice), Pickling Spice.
- Classic French Herbs and Spices Blends: Bouquet Garni, Fines Herbes, Herbes de Provence, Quatre Epice.
- Indian Masalas: Chaat Masala, Garam Masala, Green Masala, Madrasi Masala, Panch Phoron, Sambar.
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