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Va Va Voom the Veg

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The good old common and garden herb is Cool again. I always knew this because my grandma told me that to cook properly and to be healthy, good witches use herbs. (We weren’t witches, no, really!), but I was into fairy stories at the time, (still am in truth).

Herbs are brilliant. Hooray for Herbs!! Not only do they add flavour to everything, from sauces, to stews and casseroles, salads and vegetables, meat and fish, but they are Nutritious and Healthy. In fact, recent studies have found that their nutritional values are much greater than previously thought and their benefits to our health are enormous.

Wherever possible, I use fresh herbs as these are the most nutritious and have a much cleaner flavour than the dried variety. However, even the dried ones can perk up a meal and both fresh and dried can be used as seasoning mixed with lemon juice instead of using salt, or as a garnish to aid digestion and help boost the immune system.

My top seven fresh herbs are Parsley, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Oregano and Coriander. These herbs can cover all dishes, so are versatile as well as tasty. From those seven I probably use Parsley, Basil and Coriander the most because these are extremely versatile and taste good raw, chopped and sprinkled on food.

The thing to do with herbs is experiment, but if in doubt this link is a good starting place:
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Delaware

A quick look at some of the benefits of why herbs are so good for us:

- High in antioxidants
- High in essential vitamins and minerals
- Contain essential oils
- Help reduce blood sugar levels – excellent for diabetics
- Help reduce cholesterol
- Contain anti-inflammatory properties
- Help prevent artery disease

If, like me, you find yourself using herbs more and more, and find that supermarket prices are a little high, well you will also find that they are very easy to cultivate in pots on window ledges or in containers on your patio.

So, get out your chopping board and fandango with the fish, shimmy with the salad and va va voom the veg.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Have yet to find a herb that I don't like - would be hard to name a favourite. I know they're incredibly beneficial but am grateful for the specifics - and for the link. Have to say I put fresh herbs with pretty well everything but - again - the specifics are good to know.

    Great blog, Crystal - also your photos are beautiful and really effective - very tempting I have to say!

    emoticon - Sonia
    2469 days ago
    Thanks for all that info about herbs.

    My younger son uses them in his cooking far more than I do in mine.
    But then - he's cooking for himself, where I'm re-learning the cooking for 2.
    I do use a lot of parsley - dried cos that's the easiest for me.

    But you are so right - herbs add a huge amount of flavour and of goodness to whatever you're cooking.

    @ I.M.Magic - I use my kitchen window sill for herbs, as and when I grow my own. It is north facing, so has very little "good" light, although it obviously has daylight all day.
    Your patio may be in the shade all day - but outdoors, shade areas have reflectors. Have you tried, eg a pot of parsley and a pot of mint - just to see how they do? They may not grow quite so strongly, but they'll also probably need less watering!
    2469 days ago
    I too love fresh herbs... and though I DO have a patio, it's in shade all day so it's basically useless for herbs, which usually require at least 6 hrs of sun. In fact, the grass back there barely grows! LOL

    I do have to purchase mine at the store or local marketplace. The hardest thing about that isn't the price, it's keeping the stuff fresh! LOL So I end up using about a third of what I buy fresh, and drying the rest in my oven to store in little jars or ziplocks until I need them. They go quite a ways like that...

    I have coriander and cilantro (different parts of the same plant), basil, dill, rosemary (which I use mostly for cleaning! LOL), garlic, oregano, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg... can't remember the rest off the top of my head. My favorites are basil and garlic and dill...

    And you are right about using lemon with them too! LOL

    I'm on a low-sodium regimen, and lemon and apple cider vinegar have added a whole new dimension of flavor for me...

    Thanks for the reminder--I need to check my pantry and restock! LOL

    Kathy emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2470 days ago
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