Herbs can be divided in two broad groups, soft herbs and robust herbs, which will determine how they will be cooked.
Basil, chervil, chives, cilantro (coriander) and dill etc should not be cooked as they lose their flavour. Add raw chopped leaves at the end of the cooking process.
Bay leaf, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, sage and thyme etc can be added at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse the food and are often times removed before serving the dish.
There are many culinary herbs with medicinal properties that you should use to cook with on a daily or weekly basis. Enjoy cooking with them knowing they are supporting your immune functions as well.
- Lemon balm
- Bay leaf
- Chili peppers
Culinary inspirations with fresh herbs
1) Herb butters
They can be melted over grilled chicken, lamb, fish, bread and even corn.
- Blend together 250g of soft butter, a cup of soft herbs, with 1 finely chopped garlic clove and some grated lemon zest( optional ) and black pepper.
- Set in an ice tray or scoop onto cling film and roll around the butter to form a sausage shape, then twist the ends to seal. Use as desired.
2) Salsa Verde
This cold, rustic sauce is traditionally served with grilled fish, meat or pasta and is so easy to make.
- Chop together ½ cup flat leaf parsley, ½ cup basil leaves, ½ cup mint, ¼ cup chervil, 1/8 cup tarragon and ¼ cup chives.
- Add 1 chopped spring onion, 1 tablespoon small capers and 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard.
- Mix and then add the zest and juice of a lemon and olive oil.
- Cover and leave the salsa to develop some flavour for at least 30 min.
Stir just before serving.
3) Cook a Simple Syrup
- Add a big handful of fresh herbs to a basic mixture of equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil, stir, and then remove from the heat.
- Once completely cooled, strain out the herbs and use the simple syrup to sweeten iced tea, cocktails, fresh juices and anything else your heart desires.
4) Fresh Herb Dip
- 1/2 cup organic sour cream
- 3/4 cup organic yogurt
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Scallion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite fresh vegetables, pita bread, chips or crackers.
- Chill for at least two hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to develop.For salad dressing, stir in enough buttermilk until desired consistency is reached.
5) Create Your Own Herbalicious Salad (Reference: Herbal academy of New England)
Use this recipe as a guide in making a delicious herbal salad with the herbs, flowers, veggies, and fruits you have on hand.
- 2 cups of lettuce
- 1 cup of your favorite veggies – yummy choices are cucumbers, carrots, bell pepper, brocoli, celery and pea pods
- ½ cup of your favorite fresh fruit, tasty choices are apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, and oranges
- 1 cup of fresh herb leaves such as lemon balm, mint, sage, anise hyssop, violet, and chickweed
- ¼ cup edible flowers such as violets & pansies, nasturtiums, borage, and chive.
- Herbal infused oil
- Salt & pepper
- Carefully wash the lettuce, veggies, fruit, herbs, and flowers.
- Shred the lettuce and place into a bowl.
- Add the herb leaves to the bowl and toss with the lettuce to mix everything together.
- Chop the fruit and veggies into bite-size pieces and place into the bowl with the lettuce and herbs. You can toss everything together or simply leave the veggies and fruit on top of your lettuce/herb mix.
- Sprinkle your pretty flowers over the top of your salad.
Serve your salad with herbal infused oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can either toss all of these with your salad, mixing them to taste, or let people add their own!