There is no doubt that herbs enlighten our regular meals. They are essential to complement the dishes and salad dressings. In addition, most of these plants inexpensive. There is a lot of books which can help you to grow the get the most out of aromatic herbs for cooking.
It is said that many spring shoots purify and cleanse the blood. They were traditionally consumed in the Christian Easter or Passover according to the beliefs. They are usually bitter herbs that have the property of increasing the secretion of digestive juices, stimulating the sluggish stomach and appetite. These herbs must be consumed in very small amounts or they have the opposite effect.
There are generally herbs – parsley, chervil, chives and tarragon–, and Provencal herbs – thyme, dill, basil, rosemary, savory, fennel, wild marjoram (or oregano), bay leaves, coriander, mint and even lavender –.
We can classify the herbs depending on the intensity of their flavor. I attached links to amazon.com products pages so you can see what it looks like and eventually order things that you cannot find locally right now. Note that amazon;com only sells dried herbs.
Herbs with the strongest flavors
- Coriander: the leaves have an anise flavor and the seeds recall orange peel. Coriander seeds — whole or ground — can be stored for months.
- Tarragon leaves are thin and delicate, with a strong aniseed smell and taste a little lemon. Tarragon examples.
- The fennel bulb which is used either fresh or in seed and whose taste is anise. Just like coriander, fennel seeds can be bought whole or ground.
Laurel or Bay with its large leaves is essential for the famous bouquet garni (where it joins with thyme and parsley).
- Rosemary: shaped branches with lots of small bicolor leaves, whose strong flavor offers slightly salty virtues. Rosemary is used a lot in french southern kitchen.
- Sage (or donkey pepper in Provençal) fights mainly against the meat spoiliage process. Sage leaves have a thin duvet with blueish and silver nuances.
- Green and peppery mint, delicious in sauces and especially associated with chocolate, mint is used both in desserts, savory dishes and salads as well.
- Finally, thyme which in its varieties, has a lemony, spicy or near verbena taste. Thyme is very popular in many culinary traditions. It will greatly enhance any grilled food.
Mild tasting herbs
- Dill is a cousin of fennel with the same anise taste but a little cooler. Dill is very appreciated in scandinavian country where it seasons salmon in many recipes.
- Basil has small, soft, and bright green leaves, which brighten the dishes and taste a little bitter. Basil is delicious along with pasta or tomato and mozzarella salads
- Chervil, with serrated teeth on its leaves has a strong anise flavor and cannot stand the heat.
- Chives, whose fat grass is from the same family as garlic and onion, has a peppery and refreshing taste. Chives add a great touch to salads and quiches.
- Oregano, is a wild plant with very marked scent, is essential to southern Italian and mediterranean cuisine. You can sprinkle oregano on baked potaoes and, of course, pizzas, just before putting in the oven.
- And finally Parsley, which can be flat or curly, is tasteless, but brings freshness and large amounts of vitamins and antioxidant properties in food. You can use parsley in salads, quiches, tarts, seafoods like mussels, red meat…
For further info, make sure to read this post about how to keep and store your fresh aromatic herbs.