The Roundup -

Herbs Turn Ordinary Dishes Into Extraordinary

 


Whether you say “Herbs” or “Erbs,” there is no doubt the addition of these flavorful plants can turn ordinary dishes into extraordinary dishes.

An herb is the green or leafy part of a plant used for seasoning or flavoring. Herbs have fragrant or aromatic properties that may be used in flavoring foods, fragrances, and essential oils. Common herbs include basil, parsley, rosemary, and dill.

Herbs may be used as an ingredient in the cooking process in a recipe or to add a burst of flavor to a complete dish. Typically, dried herbs are used to impart flavor during cooking. Common dried herbs include oregano, rosemary and thyme. Common fresh herbs are mint, cilantro and parsley. You may find common herbs available in both fresh and dried forms, so it is important to take note of whether your recipe calls for dried or fresh herbs. Dried herbs tend to pack a stronger flavor.

Adding herbs to your favorite dishes not only boosts the flavor, but they may take the place of added salt and salty seasoning. According to the American Heart Association, the average American eats about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. The recommended amount for normal adults is less than 1,500 milligrams, especially for those adults with high blood pressure. Commercial seasoning salts such as Lawry’s or Morton brands contain between 350 and 380 milligrams of sodium per serving. A teaspoon of regular table salt contains a whopping 2,324 milligrams of sodium!

Easy ways to substitute herbs for salt include adding dried herbs such as parsley, basil, and oregano to Italian sauces, fresh cilantro or dill to scrambled eggs, or bay leaves in soup broths. Handfuls of fresh herbs can be tossed into a basic green salad, including cilantro, mint and basil, or tucked into a sandwich. A variety of dried herbs can be mixed with spices and used as a dry rub to season meat for grilling.

At your local grocery store, dried herbs are typically found in the baking aisle, but certain brands may also be found in the produce section. Dried herbs can be kept for about a year in the cupboard. Fresh herbs may be sold in bunches, or in small boxes in the produce coolers, depending on the type of herb. The shelf life of fresh herbs is much shorter than that of dried herbs. To keep fresh herbs as long as possible, wrap the stems in a wet paper towel and store in the produce drawer in the fridge.

For recipes and other tips on using herbs in your favorite dishes, check out the Richland County Nutrition Coalition Facebook pages at http://www.facebook.com/1rcnc1, and the Pinterest page at http://www.pinterest.com/1rcnc1.

 

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