We can’t deny that salt and fat add taste to foods, and cutting down on these dubious substances is not easy. But the use of herbs so enhances the flavor of your foods, you won’t want or need as much of the detrimental additives. Nutritionists are advocating eating more plant foods such as fruits, grains, and vegetables; herbs are part of this plant-based diet that is believed to be so vital in protecting our bodies from disease and aging.
Following is a list of some of the more common herbs with phonetic pronunciations and a few of their uses.
ARUGULA (ah-roo’-ga-lah): also called roquette; nutty, peppery flavor from the mustard family that enhances salads and stir-fry. Best used when young.
BASIL (bah’zzl like bad or ba’zzl as in baby): Has a sweet, subtle flavor, used in tomato dishes, pesto, vegetable soups, and Italian sauces. Keeps well in the freezer, chopped. Add to your next pizza or on top of your pasta.
CHERVIL (sure’vl): mild flavored herb, resembles parsley–use with scrambled eggs, potato salad, or in fish sauces as seasoning or a garnish.
CHIVES (ch like cherry, i like eye): mild onion flavor, used as an accent for salads, stir-fry, omelets, and topping for soups.
CILANTRO (sill-an’ (as in and)-trow): pungent leaves of the coriander plant in the parsley family, used mostly in Asian, Latin American and Southwestern cooking. Use in salsa, curry, taco sauce, and Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
DILL also, from the parsley family, has a strong, aromatic taste; its leaves are used for flavoring pickles and sauces, and make a delightful addition to fish, potatoes, vegetable dips and salads.
FENNEL (fenn’l): an aromatic plant of European origin, also called anise or finocchio, the seeds and feathery leaves of which have a light anise seed flavor. Use bulb or leaves with baked poultry or meat. We use the dried seeds on vegetarian pizza with wonderful results.
ITALIAN PARSLEY: aIso called flat-leafed parsley. I have learned to use this in cooking instead of curly parsley, which is used mostly for garnishing. The wonderful flavor of this herb adds zest to soups, stews and pasta sauces. I add it to almost everything I cook, including baked chicken and turkey. Be careful—this herb looks like cilantro but is very different.
LEMON BALM: A widely-cultivated plant of the mint family native to southern Europe that has lemon-scented leaves. It has long been used in food, as well as in herbal medicines to promote relaxation and sleep. Great used in salads and with chicken.
MARJORAM (mar’ as in mark): from the mint family, wild variety is called oregano; add to poultry stuffings, egg dishes, vegetables; milder than oregano, but with the same wonderful flavor.
MINT: usually spearmint or peppermint flavor, use in summer drinks, sweet peas, as accent for new potatoes. The mint family includes marjoram, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, savory and basil. It is great with chicken, and in iced green tea.
OREGANO (ah reg’ah noh-g as in regular): a type of marjoram, used widely in Italian and Greek dishes, a must for pizza. This is one herb that I like better dried than fresh, as the taste is more pronounced.
ROSEMARY: (Rosmarino in Italian). An evergreen shrub in the western United States, has aromatic gray-green needle-shaped leaves yielding a volatile oil. Used with chicken, marinades, baked meats and fish.
SAGE (as in age): The leaves, which contain a pungent oil, are used in stuffing, meats, poultry, lamb, veal and sausage. A tea may also be made from the leaves.
SORREL (like sorry): gives a tart taste to cream sauces, fish and salads.
TARRAGON (tare’-ah-gone): light anise flavor, add to vinegars, chicken, beef stroganoff.
THYME (time): compliments vegetables, soups, breads, meats any tomato sauce It also yields an aromatic essential oil containing thymol, used in pharmacy as an antibacterial and fungicide.
WATERCRESS: peppery-flavored leaves of the mustard family, has a light, snappy flavor, accents salads and sandwiches.
Start cooking with herbs and introduce yourself to their wonderful taste. Mix your favorite dried herbs and they’ll be ready when you’re in a hurry.. They grow well in between flowers or around bushes, so you need not have a special place in which to grow them. If gardening isn’t your bag, most herbs are now available in grocery stores, and the selection is huge. Today you can find almost any herb in the fresh produce department.
I am a registered pharmacist who has always been highly interested in good health, and who utilizes current knowledge and experience to achieve that objective. I believe this includes exercise, sensible eating, social interaction, and striving to keep your mental capacity. I’m not a specialist in any of these fields, but in my pharmacy career I have learned a lot. I worked in my family-owned drugstore for many years, and interacted with a variety of people and many different maladies, picking up invaluable hints and easy treatments of everyday medical issues. I want to share some of these with you, to perhaps make a difference in solving and preventing health problems. If I learned anything along the way, it’s that I can advise you when and if you should seek medical help. I also plan to share some recipes of mine that contribute to healthy eating. I am convinced that the old adage “you are what you eat” still reigns true. I’ve enjoyed my work all these years, especially counseling patients and hope that you derive some knowledge and comfort from what I have learned.
Have questions? email Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org