Cooking With Herbs

Fresh herbs from the home garden or dried herbs bought at a food store add new flavor interest to familiar dishes. Herbs should enhance, not dominate, the food’s natural flavor. Use less of a dried herb than a fresh one, and if food is to cook a long time add herbs only for the last half-hour of cooking time.

Culinary Terms

Garnished bouquet: Bunch of fresh herbs consisting of 3 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig marjoram, and 1 bay leaf tied together with cotton and used to flavor soups, stews, sauces, and other meat dishes.

Fine herbs: French term applied to equal amounts of chopped fresh parsley, chervil, chives, and tarragon. Used in omelets or sprinkled on salads. A pinch added to scrambled eggs gives a delicious flavor.

Uses of Herbs in Cooking

  • Basil: Plant similar in appearance to sage. Use fresh or dried leaves in soups, sauces (especially for macaroni or spaghetti), meat, stews, salads, tomato dishes, some vegetables, especially eggplant, scrambled eggs. Try a pinch in tomato juice cocktail.
  • Bay leaves: From the sweet bay or laurel tree. Have a strong flavor that is released by moist heat. Sold dried. Use sparingly in stews, soups, sauces. Try adding a leaf when cooking potatoes for potato salad.
  • Celery seed: From a special variety of celery, sold dried and powdered. Used in soups, stews, savory dishes. Also ground, mixed with salt, and used as celery salt. Try a dash of celery salt in tomato juice.
  • Chervil: Plant similar to parsley. Use fresh in salads, soups, sprinkled over roasts, in sauces and egg dishes. Try chopped fresh chervil in french dressing.
  • Chives: Thin grass-like leaves of bulb of onion family. Use chopped leaves to flavor cottage or cream cheese, egg dishes, cream soup. Try one tablespoon, chopped, in mashed potato.
  • Dill: Seeds of plant similar in flavor to caraway. Fresh leaves are also used, finely chopped. Use in pickles, salads, meat, and fish dishes. Try mashed turnips with butter, pepper, and a pinch of fresh or dried dill.
  • Marjoram: A member of the mint family. In many processed foods, such as liver- wurst, it is used for seasoning. Try as a seasoning for vegetables, savory stews, poultry stuffings.
  • Mint: Fresh leaves easily grown in the home garden, used to garnish as well as flavor. Use in mint sauce or mint jelly served with lamb, in cooking new potatoes and peas, in potato salad, to garnish summer drinks. Try savory biscuits spread with cream cheese and sprinkled with chopped mint.
  • Oregano: Plant resembling marjoram. Use finely chopped leaves, fresh or dried, in salads, meat loaves, stews, vegetable, meat sauces for spaghetti. Try sprinkling a pinch over tomatoes, in tomato omelets, or add to potato salad.
  • Parsley: Easily grown in the home garden. Use in savory dishes, sauces, sandwiches, salads, and stuffings. Fresh, it is rich in Vitamin C.
  • Rosemary: Well-known garden shrub. Use fresh or dried leaves in meat, fish, or vegetable dishes. Try adding a small amount to roast lamb seasoning.
  • Sage: Perennial shrub. Use fresh or dried leaves to flavor seasoning for pork, duck, turkey, and in some cheese dishes. Try brown bread sandwiches with cream cheese lightly sprinkled with chopped sage.
  • Savory: Plant similar in appearance to rosemary. Use fresh or dried leaves to flavor meats, seasonings, soups, sauces. Try adding a pinch to cream of celery soup and using as a sauce for cauliflower.
  • Sesame: Small seeds of an East Indian plant. Use in Oriental-type cookery or breads, cakes, cookies, cream soups, and with noodles. Try a little in crumb topping for savory luncheon dishes.
  • Tarragon: Leaves of a plant notable for distinctive flavor. Can be bought dried or in tarragon-flavored vinegar. Use in salads. Try cucumber salad sprinkled with a little dried tarragon and tarragon vinegar.
  • Thyme: Easy-to-grow herb. Use fresh or dried with sea foods, chicken, egg, and tomato dishes. Try a pinch in spinach cream soup.

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