Herbs for Cooking

Many people consider herbs as the wonders of the culinary, because their variety and versatility may transform the ordinary every day dish at the meal hour into something different just by seasoning the same foods with different herbs for cooking available everywhere.

Decades ago, growing your own cooking herbs was just a dream for those with no outdoor space, yard or garden. Today, it is really easy to grow your cooking herbs and some medicinal herbs indoors, or on the edge of your kitchen's window, giving you fresh herbs all year long.

Growing your own cooking and other herbs indoors will help you to stop paying grocery store prices and allowing you the pleasure of adding their rich aroma not only to your confections but to your kitchen adding their natural perfumes to the environment. It is not hard to start your own indoor garden in minutes and have fresh herbs within weeks.

Herbs for Cooking make it possible to have a variety of appetizing dishes any time and are particularly useful when economical cuts of meat must take the place of those that are expensive and more favored, or when customary sources of the commercial supply of herbs are temporarily exhausted. However, the most appealing fact is the enjoyment of growing herbs to later use them skillfully.

Herb garden kits are available at naturist stores and super markets, or if you have the outdoor space, go for a full garden that may be enhanced with vegetables as well. Among the seeds you may grow to have your own herbs for cooking these are the most popular:

Basil, curry plant, sage, chives, saffron, zucchini flowers, chamomile, coriander (also knows as cilantro, culantro or Vietnamese coriander), the mints, feverfew and pyrethrum, tarragon, nasturtiums, dill seed, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, garlic, thyme, lemon grass or citronella grass, horseradish, anise hyssop, parsley, monarda or bee balm, monarda and the bergamot flavor in earl grey tea.

Along with cooking herbs, the roots of many of them are also use in food preparation, such as ginger, but continuing with the general list we can mention also anise, borage, horehound, marjoram and oregano including Cuban oregano and Mexican oregano variities, caraway, catnip, lovage, savory, rue, rocket, angelica, sweet cicely, Mexican mint marigold (mmm) or Mexican tarragon, shiso or perilla, capers and those summer or winter only herbs.

And of course, you must not forget herbs used commonly in daily basis or frequently, including allspice, arrowroot, sweet bay leaves, cardamom, cayenne pepper, celery seed, chervil, cinnamon, cloves, curry, weed fennel seed, horseradish, juniper berries, mace, mints, including spearmint and peppermint, mustard seed, nutmeg, onion, paprika pepper poppy, red pepper, rosemary, sesame seed, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla and the large variety of chilies and peppers, among many other herbs and spices to add more flavor to you cooking.

The use of herbs in cooking is an art and the experience has taught us that certain foods are given a more pleasing flavor by combining with them certain herbs or herb groupings and combinations. There are no rules to use them, but the beginner sometimes needs some guidance.

The most important factors are interest, imagination, and constant experimentation to make foods more tasty and appetizing. Some herbs blend harmoniously with almost any food; others with only a few, but generally most interesting flavor effects are gained by combining a leading flavor with two or three others that blend with it almost imperceptibly.

Cooking herbs are divided into three major groups, pungent herbs, herbs strong enough for accent, and herbs especially good in blends. Experiment with those in the first and second groups to supply leading flavors and then try those in the third group and on the less pungent into the second to complete the blends.

Use the herbs with a light hand because the aromatic oils are strong, and too much of any flavor in cooking is objectionable. Keep in mind that dried herbs are three or four times stronger than fresh herbs, and cut or chop the leaves of fresh herbs very fine, in fact for some purposes they should be ground in a mortar. The more of the cut surface exposed, the more completely the aromatic oil can be absorbed.

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