Friday, May 6, 2011

Cooking with Herbs and Spices

Stake Provident Living Meeting – April 6, 2011
By Christi Jardine- 8th Ward

And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath 
ordained for the constitution,nature, and use of man--- 
Every herb in the season thereof…”       
 -D&C 89:10-11

 “Herbs are leaves of low growing shrubs. They can be used fresh or dried. It is the oil in the herb that is the flavor.
                Herbs: parsley, chives, marjoram, thyme, basil caraway, dill oregano, rosemary, savory, sage, anise, mint, tarragon, cilantro.

Spices come from bark, root, buds, seeds, berries or the fruit of tropical plants and trees. Spices are more pungent in flavor and aroma than herbs.
                Spices: cinnamon, ginger, onion, garlic, cloves, saffron, mustard, poppy, sesame, pepper, all spice and paprika.”
“Savor the Flavor of Herbs and Spices,” Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extenion, Washingtion Co.

Cooking with Herbs and Spices
- is a great way to add flavor and reduce fats, sugars and salts in cooking. The reason we love foods which are high in fats, sugars and salt is because they add flavor and palatability.  By using herbs/spices to add flavor to recipes you can reduce the amount of salt, fat and calories! 

1T. of fat = 100 calories 1 T. sugar = 45 calories
Average daily calories for an adult= 1700 to 2200

To Reduce Salt Try:                                         To Reduce Sugar Try:
Basil                                                                                    Allspice
Cumin                                                                                  Anise
Curry powder                                                                      Cardamom
Garlic                                                                                   Cinnamon
Italian blends                                                                        Cloves
Oregano                                                                               Ginger
Parsley                                                                                  Mace
Pepper                                                                                  Nutmeg

  • 1 T. of chopped fresh herb = 1 t. dried herb (flaked, crushed) = ¼ ground herb
  • When doubling a recipe only 1 ½ times the herbs and taste. If more is needed go ahead and double.
  • Add dried herbs and spices at the beginning of the recipe to give them time to rehydrate and release their flavor.
  • Fresh herbs should be used at the end of cooking which prevents them from loosing flavor.
Less delicate herbs- last 20 min.                Delicate herbs- last 2-3 minutes
  • Garnishing is usually done with fresh herbs, but dried herbs such as parsley or cilantro flakes can be sprinkled on dishes to add color if fresh herbs are unavailable.
  • If by mistake you add too much of an herb to a recipe, add a raw peeled potato while it cooks. Before serving remove the potato and it will have absorbed the additional flavors.

 Storing Herbs
  • Dried herbs and spices should be rotated often to obtain optimum flavor. To check the herb or spice, rub a small amount in between your fingers and if the aroma is fresh, rich and immediate, it will still be good to use.
  • Store away from light, heat and moisture. (It would be better to store them in a cupboard/drawer next to the stove rather than above the stove.)
  • Fresh herbs can be stored in for between 2 -5 days depending on the herb. Wash and pat dry. Layer the herb between layers of paper towel and place in a plastic bag Ziplock bag in the refrigerator.
  • Fresh herbs can also be kept for a day or two by cutting the ends of the stems and placing in a vase of water. If left on the counter they give a nice aroma to the kitchen. Or cover with a plastic bag and secure to the vase and place in the refrigerator for longer storage (less than a week).
  • Fresh herbs can be frozen in ice cube trays. Chop the desired amount of the herb (1T. is a good amount,) into an ice cube tray. Cover with water and freeze. When frozen remove ice cubes from tray and place in a freezer bag and return to the freezer until ready to use. Add directly to the recipe without thawing. This will give you the closest to fresh herb taste.
  • Pesto can also be frozen in ice cubes. Then it can be used later in sauces, soups, etc.

Herb Uses:

Basil- pesto, tomato based dishes, chicken, rice, fish, Italian dishes
Bay Leaf- stews, soups, chicken dishes
Chives- eggs, dips, potatoes, salads, creamy soups, tomatoes
Cilantro- salsas, tomato, Mexican dishes
Dill- salmon, potatoes, tomatoes, pickled cucumbers, carrots, beans,
Garlic Chives- Asian cuisine, rice, noodles, and soups
Lemon Grass- Asian soups, curries and salads
Lemon Thyme- fish and chicken dishes
Marjoram- omelets, stuffings, soups and stews
Mint- sweet dishes, Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern foods
Oregano- Mediterranean cooking, tomato-based sauces, cheese and beans,
Parsley- salads, garnishes, egg dishes, pastas, soups, chicken, vegetables
Rosemary- fish, chicken, lamb, potatoes, breads and tomato based sauces
Sage- pumpkin, game, pork, poultry, stuffing
Tarragon- French cooking, fish, poultry, and sauces such as hollandaise and béarnaise
Thyme- soups, stews, tomato-based sauces, veal, lamb and roast poultry

1-“Savor the Flavor of Herbs and Spices,” Carolyn Washburn, 
             Utah State University Extenion, Washingtion Co.
                3-“Cooking 101”, Desseret News, Wed. March 26, 2008, pg. C-1