Back to basics: Herbs

Herbs are the leafy parts on the plant that don’t have a woody stem. Herbs are one, if not the best way to season your food without using much salt. Whether it’s fresh herbs or dried, adding herbs is an easy way to increase aroma and flavor to any dish. Here’s a tip on using herbs before I share a list with you guys. When choosing between fresh and dried herbs, dried herbs are slightly cheaper and have a stronger flavor but lose their strength much faster than fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are a little bit more expensive but have more uses than dried herbs.

  • Basil- One of my favorite herbs out there. A basil leaf tastes like a combination of licorice and cloves. It has a light scent and can be used in European cooking such as French, Italian and Mediterranean cooking. There’s also thai basil that can be used for Asian cuisine like Vietnamese, thai and so much more. There’s also many different types of basils, but i’m not going through all of it (or else this would take forever).

  • Bay leaf- provides a “woody” flavor to sauces, stews, vegetables and grilled meats. If you can’t get fresh ones, dried bay leaves are a good alternative. Just make sure you take the bay leaves out after you’re done cooking

  • Cilantro- one of the most underrated herbs out there. Why? Because some people think it tastes like soap. But if used correctly in salsas, stir-fries and curries, it adds a whole new depth of flavor

  • Dill- a light, distinctive flavor that is used in egg, vegetables and salads. It also pairs very well with fish and some meat dishes. Dill is a much stronger herb so be careful of how much you put.

  • Parsley- probably one of, if not most popular herbs out there. Parsley is a light, semi-peppery herb used to season so many types of dishes. It’s a well-rounded herb that you can’t really go wrong. Look for flat leaf or Italian parsley because it provides more flavor than curly parsley. More bang for your buck. But try to stay away from dried parsley whenever possible because it doesn’t provide the same strength as fresh would

  • Lemongrass-has a sour-lemon taste and fragrance. It’s usually used in teas, soups and some curries

  • Oregano- one of my personal favorite herbs to cook with. Works brilliantly well in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines

  • Rosemary- a strong herb that has a mixed taste of lemon and pine. Pairs well with most proteins and perfect for holiday cooking

  • Thyme- just like parsley, very versatile and can be used in most dishes. Soups, stews, you name it

  • Sage- when I think of sage, I always think of pork because it pairs so well with it. A slightly bitter herb with a misty mint taste and aroma. It also works well with stuffing

  • Chives- a very oniony herb that can be used to finish off dishes. Slicing them thinly is they key to maximize taste

  • Tarragon- this is the herb I don’t use much, but I should. It has a sweet, delicate licorice-like flavor. You’ll be surprise of how much potential this herb can be

  • Mint- Who doesn’t like this herb? Just like thyme and parsley. It is a great herb that can be used for anything. It’s also one of the few herbs that is used in desserts!

Now, I know this is a lot to take in. Don’t worry. I too had that same feeling when I first got into cooking. It’s all about experimenting and testing out different kinds of herbs. It’s also a great way to try out different combinations of herbs. Herbs can open up so many different possibilities to help season your dish besides your usual salt and pepper. Knowing your herbs can take your cooking to a whole new level!

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