Throughout history people from every culture have been using herbs to season and flavor food.
In the 17th century, John Parkinson, the famous English herbalist at the Court of King James I-wrote these words, “dried summer savory leaves ground up with bread crumbs used to breade meate, be it fish or flesh, give it a quicker relish.” Meaning that it gives it a better taste.
Herbs do taste good and smell good, they are healthy and they give us so many options to experiment with. Hard and fast rules when using herbs are very few. You can make your own rules. Fresh versus dried is simply a matter of personal preference.
There are a few things to remember when cooking with herbs in order to get the best benefit of the natural oils. Fresh herbs like basil, should be torn with your fingers instead of chopped with a knife. Tearing releases more of the natural oil. Any fresh or dried herb should be added no more than 5 or 10 minutes to the end of cooking time. The longer they cook, the more taste you lose.
Another little tip: When using dried—–half the amount of fresh will do in most recipes.
Too little is better than too much! Herbs can be overpowering if not used in the proper amounts.
The blending of herbs can serve a two fold purpose, adding wonderful flavor to your dish, and allowing you to cut back or completely stop the use of salt and or fat.
Actually there is a third benefit, once you remove the salt and fat from your food, you discover the real taste . This is always a big surprise to most people.
I’m an herb farmer/user/teacher and strongly believe in the powers of herbs to support, heal, cleanse and maintain the health of our bodies, minds and spirit.
But they are like everything we do that has a real purpose, we must learn about the process
and commit to a practice of when and how to best use them.
**Yes, the spellings are correct for the times.