Culinary herbs are always said to have an unpleasant taste whether we use it to make a tea, crush and eat the leaves or extract juice from the leaves.
However, there are ways we can prepare our natural herbs so they have a more pleasant taste, and still get the results we need. We will even get better results from some natural herbs when cooked, or when heat is applied. Below, we will discuss in detail some culinary herbs and different ways we can prepare them to get the best results.
The roots, leaves, stems and seeds of Angelica are used in cooking. The root and the stem contain an essential oil which is perfumery. The leaves are used as vegetable and the seeds are used in cookies and sweets.
The leaves can also be added to fruit or leafy salads.
There are numerous species of basil, some have scents of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon and cloves, others have beautiful purple leaves.
In general, basil has a sweet aroma, the fresh leaves are great in eggs, meats, salads, soups, stews, pestos, pizzas and tomato dishes. Basil is normally added at the last moment, as the cooking destroys the flavour. It is the main ingredient in pesto, the Italian oil and herb sauce along with other main ingredients like garlic, pine nuts and olive oil.
Bay Leaves are another herb that is not usually eaten by itself but are used to enhance other dishes. It an be used in marinades for fish and meat, can be added to soups, vegetable, to milk for preparing puddings and is also very popular in Mediterranean cuisine.
The leaves do not develop their full flavour until several weeks after picking and drying.
The scientific name for Dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, and is a member of the daisy family. Despite it's reputation for being a weed, this herb is full of vitamins A, B, C, and D and it contains many minerals including iron, potassium, and zinc.
Dill Weed is one of the natural herbs that contain no cholesterol and is rich in anti-oxidants and dietary fibers, which helps to control blood cholesterol levels. It has many nutrients; it is a good source of minerals which include copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron.
It should be washed thoroughly to remove dirt and sand. It is very popular in European and Mediterranean cuisine to enhance the taste of meats, fish and vegetable dishes. It is also great as added flavour to soups and sauces.
Grated horseradish root is used to make horseradish sauce which is a great compliment to cheese, chicken, fish and other fatty foods. In America, the sauce is a favourite flavouring in party dips.
English Lavender is more commonly used as a culinary herb. Because of its mild and sweet taste, its flavour tends not to dominate the dish. It is a member of the mint family and is close in flavour to rosemary.
It can be used in its place if rosemary is not available to you. It is most often used in cookies and sweet dishes but can also be used on meats and salads.
Oregano is more flavourful when the leaves are dry, a bold flavour that is slightly bitter. It is mostly used to flavour meats like mutton and lamb, sauces, chillies and goat's milk cheese.
It also pairs well with olive oil, tomato, goat cheese, and saffron.
Parsley is mostly used as a garnish on potato dishes, rice dishes, chicken, fish, stews and lamb. Very popular in eastern European cuisine and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
This culinary herb is highly aromatic and has a mint-like taste with a slight ginger finish. It is popularly used in Mediterranean cuisine.
It is great as an accompaniment in lamb, chicken and pork dishes and also enhances the flavour of soups, marinades, salad dressings and sauces. Both the leaves and flowers can be used in cooking. Crush or mince before adding to whatever dish you are preparing.