Salt, which is damaging to the kidneys and results in high blood pressure, is not the only way to enhance the flavor of your food. You must also step away from artificial food enhancers like MSG (monosodium glutamate), which can cause a lot of health issues. By relying on natural and fresh herbs, you can brighten up your menu with a burst of all-natural flavor and ensure that each meal at your dining table is a gastronomic adventure.
If you are worrying about where to get your fresh herbs, the quick answer is to grow herbs indoors, of course. All you need is a tiny space with quaint potted plants to hold your fresh scallions, basil, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, and more. You can buy seeds or tiny buds, and in no time, you’ll have a robust mini garden at your fingertips.
The Logic Behind Fresh Herbs
With a little bit of water and some sunlight, you can grow an indoor herb garden that you can use anytime you want. Doing this helps save you money because you don’t have to buy a whole bunch in the grocery. This method assures there is no waste because you can get the right quantity of herbs that you need to use for a specific recipe.
Moreover, you are guaranteed that you are getting pesticide and chemical-free herbs for optimal health. Using herbs instead of salt and artificial flavors means you keep hypertension, cancer, diabetes and other diseases at bay. Fresh herbs are packed with more nutrients and antioxidants than their dried counterpart. Remember the adage you are what you eat!
Now, study a few cooking tips below on how to use fresh herbs so you can upgrade your meals. Remember, you don’t need to be a master chef to play around in the kitchen. With so many easy to follow recipes online, you will soon be a herb expert that can readily use these humble flora to add a spice of life to your dull dishes. Let’s get started.
Use a Sharp Cutting Tool
When you are using fresh herbs, stay away from a dull knife. Herbs have delicate leaves, so if you use a dull knife, you risk crushing your herbs. As a result, you hurt the leaves, and they run into an unsightly blackened mess. To ensure optimal taste and to protect the visual appeal of your herbs, use super sharp knives. You can also utilize herb scissors, so you just easily snip instead of chop. This assures that your herbs don’t discolor nor produce a different taste. Take note that finely chopped herbs release more oils and fragrance.
Be Sure You Know How to Substitute
Some recipes call for dried herbs. If you see this, there’s no need to worry because you can easily substitute fresher herbs for the dried ones. However, you must remember that dried herbs have a more condensed taste. If you would like to use your fresh herbs for a more natural and refreshing flavor, then you must use up to three or four times more than the recipe calls for. You need to compensate for the potency by adding more fresh herbs to your recipe. Working with fresh herbs will allow you to strive for a well-balanced flavor profile so one ingredient won’t dominate your dish.
Know When to Add Herbs
When to add this ingredient depends on the herb itself and what you are cooking. Dominant herbs like rosemary and thyme can be used in the beginning for dishes that need longer simmering. This will allow you to create a subtle background flavor. More delicate herbs like cilantro and scallions can be added towards the end to add a unique kick of flavor. Remember, it depends on the taste you are trying to achieve for your culinary masterpiece. You can also use these herbs as an enticing garnish.
Gently Bruise the Herbs
You must remember to gently bruise the herbs with your fingertips before dropping them into the pot. Using your fingers mean that you can apply the right amount of pressure so the leaves won’t turn black. By gently pressing on your fresh herbs, you can release more oils from the leaves to increase their flavor. This also assures that your dish will emit a unique fragrance.
Work Those Leftovers
If you happen to have leftover herbs, do note that they have a limited shelf life. Instead of allowing them to whither away in your fridge, use them as soon as you can. Read up on herb pairings so you’ll know which type of herb goes with what meat or produce, allowing you to creatively use up your extras. Most of all, you can use herbs to infuse your extra virgin olive oil for a great flavor punch to drizzle over your salads or pair up with your bruschetta.
Do not feel intimidated in using fresh herbs because these little leaves are not exclusive for gourmet chefs. Get over your fear of using these magic ingredients because they are easy to work with. Aside from being the healthier choice, fresh herbs will allow you to elevate your dish and titillate the taste buds of the people you are slaving in the kitchen for. Bona petite!