Isabell's Top 11 ~ Herbs And Spices For Cooking ~ 20/01/08
I am often asked what are my favourite herbs for flavouring, or what are the most valuable herbs to grow and use daily, in the kitchen.
Herbs have been given to use for our health and healing, and using herbs to flavour food and in cooking is a wonderful way that herbs can benefit our health.
Herbs we use for cooking are rich in essential oils and aroma and these represent the life force and energy of the plants; and when we use these herbs our energy will be enhanced. These plant oils also have powerful antioxidants which can push toxins out of the cells and restore the important potassium balance and oxygen to cells; which means the body is cleansed, regenerated and immunity is strengthened.
Using fresh herbs gives us a large range of vitamins, minerals, and living enzymes ... many of which aid our digestion.
Flavouring herbs I like to use include:
- Chives, the more you pick them, the more they keep coming; just great to give a mild onion flavour to savoury and meat dishes.
- Nasturtium leaves and their bright coloured flowers have a mild pungent flavour, are a natural antibiotic and rich in vitamin C. Add to salads and use as a garnish.
- Sage has powerful antibacterial, antioxidant and tonic action; as it has a strong flavour start by adding a little to meat and vegetable dishes.
- Sweet marjoram sets the digestive juices flowing in the mouth; great for flavouring meat and savoury dishes, pizza, pasta, tomato and cheese dishes.
- Sweet Leaf Bush leaves taste like fresh garden peas, great to add to salads, sandwiches and tossed through stir-fries etc. Leaves are 34+% protein.
- Basils, there are so many wonderful varieties to grow - sweet, greek, thai, purple ruffles, lemon, dark opal, sacred etc; use to flavour savoury dishes and as a garnish; and basil is a traditional herb in pesto.
- Ginger with a hot pungent flavour has many health benefits; add to meat, savoury and sweet dishes. I like using a little fresh ginger in smoothies made with fresh pineapple, aloe vera, comfrey and stevia.
- Rau Om is a very special flavouring herb; the leaves have a delightful aroma and absolutely wonderful flavour that gives me a boost of energy every time I inhale the refreshing aroma. Add leaves to salads, savoury and sweets dishes, and enjoy the tantalising flavour.
- Horseradish has powerful antioxidant properties. Grate or mince the roots to make into spreads and sauces. A valuable herb for clearing the mucus membranes, coughs, hay fever and as a tonic.
- Watercress is a wonderfully nutritionally rich herb, with many vitamins (including vit. B17), minerals, and antioxidants. It is a valuable blood cleansing and blood building herb. Use it regularly in salads, sandwiches, cooked dishes, pesto, and I like it as a garnish with fresh slices of fruit.
- Kaffir Lime leaves when very finely sliced proved a rich lemon flavour for meat, savour and sweets dishes. When I make muesli bars in the dehydrator with - rolled oats, fruits in season on the farm, flour gourd, high protein leaves (like salad mallow, drumstick tree and sweet leaf bush), sprouts and aloe vera - the finely cut kaffir lime leaves give a wonderful flavour.