The healing touch of herbs and spices

I had always enjoyed taking late afternoon stroll around my great aunt’s herb garden, whenever I visited her and had to stay overnight by her; which in a strange way has provided somewhat of an inspiration on numerous occasions throughout my life and it has always got me to the part of wanting to start my own herb garden, but I have never truly gotten round to doing it.

I guess it is from all those bright zingy flavors and sweet aroma that comes from the herbs, such as allspice, bay leaves, basil, garlic, ginger, rosemary, chives, parsley, mint, onions, peppers (of all kinds), thyme and others I cannot quite remember.  I also loved the way, how she would talk to her plants and she can point out each and every one out and say without even thinking twice what they are great for foodwise, healthwise and otherwise.

Even though, she has longed passed on, her children, grandchildren and two great granddaughters still love to keep what little have been left of her herb garden, as most of her kids had built homes on the land and so her garden had become small and there are a few herbs still grown there, such as:

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ANISE

Green-gray fruit or seed of plan of parsley family; available whole and in extracts; unmistakable strong licorice flavor. Used extensively in confections, sweet pastries, and as a flavoring in liqueurs.

BASIL

Sweet, warm flavor with an aromatic odor, used whole or ground. Good with lamb, fish, roast, stews, ground beef, vegetables, dressing and omelets.

BAY LEAVES

A pungent flavor, use whole leaf but remove before serving. Good in vegetable dishes, fish and seafood, stews and pickles.

CAPERS

Capers are the small buds of a shrub grown in the Mediterranean. They are pickled in vinegar or dried and salted.

CAYENNE PEPPER

This is referred to as red ground pepper and it is very hot ground spice derived from dried cayenne chili pepper.

CHIVES

Mild, sweet herb with a flavor reminiscent of the onion, to which it is related.

CILANTRO

Green, leafy herb resembling flat leaf (Italian) parsley with a sharp, aromatic, somewhat astringent flavor. Also called fresh coriander and commonly referred to as Chinese parsley.

CINNAMON

Popular sweet spice for flavoring baked goods. The aromatic bark of types of laurel trees, it is sold as sticks or ground.

CLOVES

Rich and aromatic East African spice used ground in baked goods and whole in pickling brines and as a seasoning for baked hams. Provides flavor to both sweet and savory recipes.

DILL

Fine, feathery leaves with a sweet aromatic flavor sold fresh or dry.

FENNEL

Crisp, refreshing, mildly anise-flavored bulb vegetable. Seeds and leaves are both used as a spice. Has a sweet hot flavor. Wide variety of uses. Popular for seasoning pork roasts and fish dishes.

GARLIC

Member of the same group of plants as the onion. Robust flavoring, available as garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic chips, garlic seasoning powder, and garlic juice, in a huge variety of dishes.

GINGER

Ginger is a fresh, pungent root sold fresh, dried or ground. It is used as a confection or condiment. It may be found crystallized or candied, ground or as a syrup.

MINT

The most common commercial types of mint are spearmint and peppermint. Refreshing, sweet herbs used fresh or dry to flavor lamb, poultry, vegetables and fruits.

OREGANO

Aromatic, pungent and spicy Mediterranean herb. Use fresh or dried for all types of savory dishes. Especially popular with tomatoes and other vegetables.

PAPRIKA

The ground dried pod of a variety of capsicum. Paprika is more than a garnish. It is a seasoning that is a food enhancer for many dishes, including casseroles, baked potatoes, appetizers, rarebit, chicken, veal and salad dressings.

PARSLEY

A low growing member of the celery family. Available in two varieties: the curly leaf type, and the flat leaf, or Italian, type. Best when used fresh but can be used dry.

ROSEMARY

A perennial of the mint family. Use with partridge, duck, poultry, lamb, veal, seafood and vegetables. A strong, aromatic flavor.

SAGE

Pungent herb used either fresh or dried that goes particularly well with fresh or cured pork, lamb, veal, poultry or vegetables.

SAVORY

The dried brownish-green leaves of a plant of the mint family; has an aromatic piquant flavor. Blends well with other herbs. May be used alone or in combination with other herbs in stuffings for meat, fish or poultry; egg dishes; sauces; soups; meatloaf and hamburgers; stews; beans; cabbage; peas; and tomato juice.

SHALLOT

Small member of the onion family with brown skin, white-to-purple flesh, and a flavor resembling a cross between sweet onion and garlic.

TARRAGON

Fragrant, distinctively sweet herb used fresh or dried as a seasoning for vegetables, salads, chicken, light meats, seafood and eggs.

THYME

Fragrant, clean-tasting, small leafed herb, popular fresh or dried as a seasoning for poultry, light meats, seafood or vegetables.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is the root of a plant belonging to the ginger family. Turmeric is somewhat medicinal in aroma and should be used with restraint. Used primarily in pickling.

spices

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