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Herb Series 101!

Posted by Navita Verma on

Herbs are an easy way to add life to dull dishes. As such, they’re the secret weapon for many professional cooks. These tasty little plants add vitality to every bite. Toss some basil into a caprese salad or garnish tacos with fresh cilantro and your family might just start calling you chef. 


Did you know Parsley is one of the best sources of vitamins A & C and contains fiber and minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron? It's also commonly used in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking; two of the most popular sauces being Chimichurri and Salsa Verde. 


One of the most popular herbs in America comes in many different varieties. The most popular being Italian basil and Thai purple basil. For maximum flavor and to prevent browning, add basil at the end of cooking. Remove the leaves and discard the stems, as the leaves hold the most flavor. 


Cilantro is bright and refreshing with a zesty lemon flavour. Like most herbs, cilantro can be eaten raw or cooked, and it can bring the dullest sauces to life with its invigorating flavor profile. Although it is considered the most used herb in Northern America, there could be a genetic reason as to why people either love or can't seem to like this herb!


Mint is a very versatile herb - it comes in over 30 different varieties! Not only can it be used in cooking and garnishing, but it can also be used as an essential oil or flavoring (as you may have noticed in things such as toothpaste, gum, candies, mint chocolates, etc). Besides using mint for drinks and desserts, consider making a mint sauce to pair with your proteins!


This herb can be found as pretty purple flowers that can grow as high as 5 feet! Famous for its nutty and semi bittersweet flavor, Rosemary is often used in cooking as sprigs to bring out the flavor and fragrance. It's been said that Italians have a special place in their hearts for Rosemary and it can be found in many Italian recipes as well as paired with potatoes and root vegetables (like carrots and onions). 


In the middle ages, Thyme was thought of as an item associated with remedies for protection (where sprigs of Thyme would be hemmed in clothing/armor as well as underneath pillows to prevent nightmares). Although those may not be popular remedies now, Thyme is still considered rich in antioxidants and extremely versatile when it comes to cooking. Thyme is especially popular in holiday dishes whether that be paired with vegetables or meats, or even in some festive tea!  


Consider dill as parsley's cousin; although they may not look too similar, they share a similar light-green colour and versatile uses. You can use all parts of the herb for cooking - one famous use for Dill is pickling vegetables (especially cucumbers), or any sour dishes like sauerkraut. Otherwise, you can sprinkle a little bit of dried Dill to flavor salads, sauces, sandwich fillings, soups, and so much more.


This herb is particularly close to the onion family and is considered one of the easiest herbs to grow out of the fresh herbs. Surely you've seen them spread on a bagel with some cream cheese, or sprinkled over some sour cream and baked potatoes! Because of its mild onion-y flavour, it can have a very strong taste, but if combined with the right foods, it can bring out a hint of sweetness. 

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