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List of herbs used in cooking: The ultimate taste enhancer

Are you looking for ways to add flavor to your food? Adding fresh or dried herbs will instantly enhance the flavor. Culinary herbs are aromatic edible plants used in a small amount to add flavor to the dish. It is a low-fat way to add flavor to food. Herbs pull a recipe together by infusing the dish with unparalleled aromas and flavors. Chefs and home cooks love to use fresh and dried herbs to make both dried and savory dishes ranging from rich sauces to light salads and herb-laced baked goods.  

What Are the Distinctive Qualities of Using Fresh and Dried Herbs?

Fresh herbs are preferred over dried ones for culinary purposes. While dried herbs can keep their flavor for up to six months when kept in an airtight container, fresh herbs have a shorter shelf life. Fresh herbs are more frequently added toward the end of the cooking process or as a garnish. While dried herbs are typically used throughout the cooking process, prolonged heat and exposure to moisture can take the flavor out of herbs. Dried herbs contain a more concentrated amount of flavor than fresh herbs and therefore are used in smaller quantities than fresh herbs.

How To Clean Fresh Herbs  

To clean, fresh herbs, dunk them in cold water so that all the dirt is removed. Now shake off the excess water and dry the herbs with a paper towel. Delicate herbs like parsley, cilantro, etc., should be handled gently.  

How To Store Fresh Herbs 

Fresh herbs are great to add flavors but are fragile and get rotten quickly. Below are the ways to keep the herbs fresh.

Herbs should be loosely wrapped in a wet paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keeping it for a long time may result in a loss of flavors.

Store herbs in a bouquet style, keep stems down in a jar with water covering 1 inch of the stem ends, and enclose them in a large plastic bag. Make sure to change the water every other day. Most of the herbs will be fresh for up to one week. 

To revive limp herbs, trim half an inch of the stem and place it in ice water for a couple of hours. 

Herbs should only be washed slightly before use and dried with a paper towel.

Fresh herbs generally get flavorless when heated, therefore it is preferable to add them to a recipe at the very end. 

Common Herbs And How To Use Them

1. Basil

It is one of the most common culinary herbs. It is a member of the mint family with glossy, deep green leaves and a sweet and savory flavor with a hint of anise, mint, and pepper. Varieties include sweet basil, lemon basil, and holy basil. It is used in fresh and dried form to flavor dishes ranging from Italian sauces to meat dishes to Asian curries. Basil is one of the key components of pesto sauce.

2. Mint

It is a herb that is adaptable and may be used in both savory and sweet dishes. Mint is treasured throughout the Mediterranean and is used as a complement to lamb and is frequently used in salads. Though there are wide varieties, spearmint is preferred for cooking. You can add mint as a garnish to many drinks.

3. Rosemary

It is native to the Mediterranean. It is one of the aromatic and pungent herbs. Its needle-like leaves have a lemon-pine flavor that pairs well with roasted lamb, garlic, and olive oil. Although rosemary gives a great complement to pork, tomato sauce, focaccia, and pizza, it must be used carefully due to its pungent flavor.

4. Oregano

It grows wild in the mountain of Italy and Greece. Greeks enjoy oregano in their salad dressing, whereas Italians use it on their pizza. To add flavor to chicken or fish dishes, add chopped oregano to vinaigrettes.   

5. Thyme

They come in dozen varieties; however, most cooks use french thyme. It is one of the most used herbs in the European kitchen. This congenial herb blends well with a variety of other herbs, including oregano, rosemary, parsley, sage, etc. Its earthiness flavor goes well with pork, lamb, duck, or goose, and it’s much loved in cajun and creole cooking. It is also a primary component of Caribbean jerk seasoning. Because of the small leaves, they often don’t require chopping. 

6. Cilantro

Another name for cilantro is coriander or Chinese parsley. This is native to Southern Europe and the Middle East. It has a pungent flavor, with a faint undertone of anise. It is often confused with paisley due to its similarity between leaves. It is one of the most versatile herbs that add a distinctive flavor to salsa, soup, stew, curries, salads, vegetables, fish, and chicken dishes.

7. Parsley

It is the most versatile herb in almost all dishes you cook. It has a mild and earthy flavor that allows the flavor of other ingredients to come through. Mostly flat-leaf parsley is used for cooking as it is resistant to heat and has more flavor. The cult parsley is used for garnishing, whereas flat leaf parsley is used for cooking due to its flavor. You can use parsley on roasted lamb, grilled steaks, fish, chicken, and vegetables.

8. Chives

Chives should be added to a dish just before serving since heat ruins their delicate onion flavor. To enhance their flavor, slice them thinly. Or add chives as a garnish that has been finely chopped. Chives go well with baked potatoes, dips, and quesadillas.

9. Dill

Its feathery leaves lend a fresh, sharp flavor to all kinds of food: You can use dill in gravlax, cottage cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese, omelets, seafood (especially salmon), soups, and salads. 

10. Sage

The northern Mediterranean coast is where it originally came from. Long and narrow leaves of sage have a distinctively fuzzy texture. Italians love it with veal while French people add to their stuffing, meats, sausages, pork dishes, etc. Americans love it with turkey and dressing. 

11. Tarragon

Despite being a Siberian and Western Asian native, Tarragon is primarily used in France. It is often added to the white vinaigrette leading sweet, delicate licorice-like flavor and aroma go well with foods like salmon, omelets, and mustard-cooked chicken. It is also a major component of béarnaise sauce. Fresh Tarragon has a bittersweet peppery taste. The heat diminishes its flavor, so it is added at the end of cooking or used as a garnish.  

12. Lemongrass

It has a sour lemon flavor and fragrance. It is frequently used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine to flavour soups and teas. Remove the outer layer and the white base, then cut off the top and bottom sections to use the lemongrass. Cut it into large pieces to remove it quickly after a dish is cooked. 

Now that you know about various herbs used in cooking, all you have to do is to invest in quality kitchen products. For kitchen appliances, check the wide range of Wonderchef. 

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