As tiny as they are, herbs are nice and easy to grow. Using them in your kitchen gives you the possibility to change the flavors of your dishes in different ways. The freshest are excellent in soups, stews, vegetables, pastas, salads and breads.

Different types of herbs create different flavors in foods. If you’re new to using herbs, work through them slowly, adding just a little at a time will help you adjust as you go until you get it right. As you get used to cooking with herbs, you will learn which ones are best to associate with certain foods. Herb storage is also not difficult. Even fresh ones will keep in the refrigerator for several days. But once the herbs are frozen, remember that they would be best if they were only used for cooking and not as a garnish.

For example, basil is paired with tomatoes, oregano with sauces, rosemary with roasts, and chives with butter or cream cheese. Although these herbs are not limited to these items, you will most often see them combined in this way. If you think oregano might be ideal for a particular food you have in mind, use your imagination and go for it. You never know that your experiment will uncover a novel recipe perfectly flavored with the herb.

You’ll also see that even the simplest food can seem like a gourmet delight, no wonder gourmets are masters at associating herbs with food. You can even make herb vinegar for your salad dressing and herb oils that you can use for recipes that call for oil. You can create your own robust-flavored marinades and herb-inspired spreads and rubs. You can make herb butter by mixing butter with chopped fresh herb. You’ll find it fun to use your own herb blends whenever you make a recipe that calls for vinegar, oil, or butter. Very funny, isn’t it?

Imagine how fresh herbs can dress up any dish and make it look spectacular. Imagine how you can layer individual sprigs of rosemary on top of your roasts, how you can garnish grilled fish with chopped basil, and sprinkle chopped parsley on top of your potato salad. I like to buy a fresh herb and mix the green pieces into my pale salad dressing. The effect was stunning, and my salad main course really turned out brilliant. With your own creativity, you can make endless combinations and delicious results.

In my little garden, I love to grow basil, parsley, oregano, lemon balm, mint, and a few others. Mint can invade your garden, so it’s worth growing them in individual cans to prevent the weed from “creeping” all over your garden. My wife makes an instant natural face mask with basil, lemon, and avocado. She would pulverize a handful of basil by mixing it on high, then throw in half an avocado and a teaspoon of lemon juice. I tried the trick and there was nothing like an all-natural face mask fresh from my garden!

These are just a few of the ways you can use fresh herbs from your garden. There are still many fun techniques of using herbs that you can learn for your own cooking style and recipes. But first, start planting your herbs.

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