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Its time to make room for Fresh Herbs in your Kitchen, no longer a garnish!

During a recent Herb webinar, I explored  the wonders of fresh herbs. To be honest I wanted to do some research about the herbs I use most in my kitchen.  What I have always thought and now KNOW is that herbs are the  HERO  in my cooking.   Along with spices, your food can take on a whole new level of wonderful!

Spice or Herb, what’s the difference?

YES, there is a difference between herbs and spices.  Herbs are the fresh leaves of the plant and spices are created from the root, bark and seeds of the plant.  In cooking it does make a difference which and how to use.  For long slow cooks, spices are used to build in the flavour profile you want create.  Then at the end or near the end, the fresh herbs are added to freshen the dish and add colour.

And herbs are more then just adding flavour or colour to your cooking.  They are outstanding HEROS in their own Leafy Goodness!  Here is what I mean… there are more reasons, these are just my top 3.

Here are 3 reasons why I think  fresh herbs are HEROS:  
  1. Immunity most are loaded with Vitamin C
  2. Heart Health and Cardo Health due to all the antioxidants 
  3. Support Bone Health due primarily to the high levels of Vitamin K 

    Very powerful, right?

I think so too.  Why not explore some fun ways to add more herbs to your daily diet.  And NO, not as a garnish.  Herbs are heroes and along with spices really help bring out the best in all meals.  Ideas!!  As I was sharing this information I added ways to increase YOUR use of fresh herbs.  Great ideas to add more zing to your day could include….  

Fresh Herbs as Tea, simply steep fresh leaves in hot water for 5-8 minutes.  The amount of leaves and water will vary based on how much tea you are making.  Here is my rule of thumb – 8-10 leaves or 1 stalk or 1/3 cup of herbs to 1 250 ml cup of hot water.

Fresh Herb Presto/sauces – I like basil pesto and I like parsley pesto.  Simple and a great use of herbs.

Fresh Herbs in Salads – many of the herbs we use can easily be added to salads.  There is no rule that salad can’t contain wonderful herbs.

Fresh Herbs in Salad dressings and Marinades’ – wonderful way to added a burst of freshness to meals.  Simply choose the right herb, chop and add to the base of a home made salad dressing or a marinade.  Really added a layer of pure fresh.

And what about SPICES.

I have  included 3 simple SPICE BLEDNS you can use in your cooking anytime – Chile blend, a warm porridge blend and baking dessert blend.  Creating your own spice blends help you explore the magic of what spices to add to your cooking and also you control the end result in terms of flavour you want.

1.  Chili spice.  You can use this in your next batch of chili or use it as a dry rub for chicken, beef or pork.  Wonderful balance.
combine the following

1  tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and Pepper to your liking NOT more then 1/4 tsp of salt

2.  Warm Porridge Spice Blend.  I love using this blend for may hot porridge  instead of adding sweeteners.  Combine the following:

1/4 tsp ground cardaum
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground cinnamon

3.  Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend – No there isn’t any pumpkin in this blend.  Its used to make the wonderful  pumpkin pie or more recently spiced coffee drinks.  Combine the following:

3 tsp  ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp ground cloves