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Flavoring Your Life with Herbs

Herbs are one of the first arrivals in our gardens—by spring, chives are thriving, mint has made a comeback, and you’ll swear your sage plant is twice as big as it was in fall. And if you don’t have an herb garden, you’ll find plenty of ultra-fresh herbs at farmer’s markets and grocery stores alike. What to do with all of your herbaceous bounty? The ideas are endless! Not only do herbs add lots of flavor and visual appeal, larger-leafed herbs like basil contain high amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. It’s time to go herb-crazy!

  • Steep fresh herbs in hot water to make herbal tea. Lemon verbena, mint, and sorrel in particular make invigorating teas. Or just drop a few sprigs of fresh herbs into your glass of water to create a refreshing flavor.
  • Garnish! Parsley is a traditional favorite, but dill, basil, thyme, and cilantro also work well as garnishes with many dishes.
  • Add a layer of fresh herbs to your next sandwich or wrap. Talk about an instant flavor boost!
  • Embrace the craft cocktail trend by infusing mojitos and Moscow mules with just-plucked mint. Feeling really daring? Singe a sprig of sage and dunk it into bourbon-based cocktails, or swirl a sprig of singed rosemary into gin drinks.
  • Add a handful of herbs to your next spring salad. Leafy herbs are the best choices for salads—just roll them into tight cylinders, slice them into thin ribbons, and toss them with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Slip fresh herbs into your ice cube tray the next time you fill it. You’ll have gorgeous ways to chill your drinks!
  • Although flavorful edible flowers like nasturtium and chervil are considered herbs, not many people think to use them as garnishes and ingredients. If you don’t spray your lawn, you probably have a bouquet of herbs in the form of edible flowers: dandelions, violets, pansies, mustard, and many others.
  • If your herbs look a bit too wilted to use fresh, simmer them to make gently scented potpourri.
  • Don’t forget about everybody’s favorite herb dish: pesto! This ever-popular condiment/sauce traditionally consists of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt, with some cooks adding Parmesan to the mix. But feel free to make your own blend with different mix-and-match ingredients:
    • For the herb component, try swapping out the basil for lemon verbena, dill, oregano, cilantro, or parsley.
    • Try essential oils like basil, fennel, thyme, rosemary or other oils from the Young Living Vitality Line, which are oils that are safe to be ingested.  Learn more here
    • Instead of pine nuts, try pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds/pepitas, almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
    • Try swapping out or adding some flavor to olive oil with cold pressed, unrefined almond oil, pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, or hemp seed oil.
    • Garlic is garlic, but you could use sautéed versus raw garlic, or you could use a more mild type of garlic like elephant or black garlic.
    • Play with salt! Try smoked salt, crunchy Maldon salt, super-savory kala namak (a.k.a. Nepalese black salt), or earthy red Hawaiian salt.
    • If you’re of the Parmesan persuasion but want to try something different, opt for other aged savory cheeses like Manchego or Asiago.
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