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Cooking With Herbs
, what is that wonderful aroma? Soup? Pot Roast?
Sauce simmering on the stove? Have you ever thought
about what makes that dinner cooking smell so
wonderful? Consider what it would smell like
without herbs and seasonings made from herbs. It
would probably smell as bland as it would
Herbs in cooking is another one of those things we
might take for granted but would be lost without!
Almost all cultures use herbs to give taste,
texture and variety to their foods.
There are two basic ways to get the herbs you need.
One can grow them or buy them. Let's look first at
Homegrown Indoor Herbs
Kitchen herbs can be grown indoors or out.
Personally I like growing them indoors in pots and
other small containers.
Sometimes I put larger pots just outside my kitchen
door and grow little pots of single herbs on my
kitchen windowsill. It smells nice, and makes a
kitchen cheerful and inviting. Be sure when growing
in containers to allow for drainage.
Thin out the plants if it gets too full. Usually
cutting stems and leaves for use will be enough in
itself to do this. Provide plenty of sun, about 4-6
hours. Fluorescent lights can also be used. Water
as each type of herb needs. Also use a small amount
of liquid fertilizer every few weeks for good
Check for bugs and damage routinely.
Harvesting Your Herbs
Harvest when leaves look tender and plump. The
flavor is at a peak just before the plant flowers.
You can prolong the peak by nipping off the buds
before flowering. Nothing beats the taste of fresh
herbs! So easy to just snip off what you need and
throw it in the pot.
You can refrigerate herbs for several days. Keep
each different herb in an airtight container.
Remember though, the sooner you use them the better
they taste. You can also freeze them, keeping in
mind they tend to get rubbery. The taste is not
affected and they can be used in simmering dishes.
Be sure to label and date them and freeze in
Let's Get Cooking
If using fresh herbs, wash well and dry well. Be
sure to get soil from crevices in leaves.
Add fresh herbs to your dish near the end of the
cooking time because they are stronger than
If you use dried herbs use 2-3 times the amount of
fresh. Your choice of herbs depends on your tastes
and common uses. Here are some basic herbs and
Most cooks depend on these basic herbs in
Basil: This is used in tomato-based dishes
and salads. A must in Italian meals Parsley: Use a sprig as a garnish for meat
and vegetable dishes Thyme: Delicious as an addition to stews,
fish, lamb, pork and beef Chives: Chop up and sprinkle on baked
potatoes, soups, eggs and salads Bay Leaves: Use a whole leaf in stews, fish
dishes, venison or marinades Majoram or Oregano: Great in soups, sauces,
pizza Tarragon: Add to fish or chicken Mint: Fresh leaves can be mixed into salads
and stuffings. Add to vegetables and meats Sage: Used in stuffing for chicken, turkey,
goose, pork Rosemary: Great with steaks, stews,
You could also purchase herbs for cooking. Many
grow the basics and shop for less common herbs or
even common herbs and spices that aren't usually
Some of these are salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic,
nutmeg, dried peppers, savory and many more.
Whether you grow your herbs or buy them, most cooks
agree that their favorite dinner just might not be
so well liked without them!
Let's Get Cooking!
While there are many reasons for teaching kids to cook -- less expensive than eating out, preserves family heritage, etc, the most important
reason is that by teaching your child to cook, you're giving him a better chance to be a healthy grown-up. Enabling your child with the ability
to appreciate freshness and to transform ingredients into tasty foods opens their eyes to making wiser choices about what to eat...