Our Top 5 Culinary Herbs – Uses and Benefits…

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A meal no matter how ordinary can be transformed into a flavoursome, healthy, delectable delight - simply by adding fresh, green herbs.

Using more fresh herbs in your cooking can add flavour, without adding more salt, butter or cheese to your dish.  Adding a little green to your meals not only brings a little of the outside into your dishes and makes it look prettier, but it can give you awesome health benefits too. 

Here are our top 5 common kitchen herbs and why we like them…


Mint
Mint leaves are by far the most flexible flavouring agents among herbs.  Used from the beginning of the meal until the very end – starters, main course, desserts and beverages!  Personally, I’d be inclined to add this fresh, flavoursome beauty to a Mojito, but it is also a lovely addition to soups, salads, chocolate puddings, teas and I’m even partial to it in an ice-cold lemonade.

It's core ingredient?  Menthol – it what gives it its lovely aroma and flavour.  To top it all off, mint leaves make the prettiest garnish too!

So, it looks nice, tastes lush and smells fab but why is Mint good for us? 

  • It’s a soothing agent and great in calming down an upset stomach.
  • Mint tea helps to rid toxins from your body and aids digestion.
  • Chewing mint leaves can help combat bad breath and it even whitens your teeth!


Our recommendations:
Garden Mint (Mentha spicata) is great for your roast lamb, Moroccan Mint (Mentha spicata ‘Moroccan’) is great for tea as it is a sweeter variety and Orange and Chocolate Mints are great for puds!

 

Garden Mint and Moroccan Mint Tea

Orange Mint

 

Rosemary
Delectable in lamb, chicken and poultry dishes/sauces.  This woody herb with distinct, fragrant, needle-like leaves is a must have in our house when seasoning lamb shanks and lamb roasts (including mashed and roast potatoes!). It is also great at adding flavour to soups, chicken dishes, vegetable platters and breads.  It’s very versatile due to its bittersweet and lemony taste and can even be infused in oils. 

Why is it good for us?

  • Its soothing aroma is great at lifting your mood.
  • A natural remedy for migraine.
  • Anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties in Rosemary help cure minor infections and boost immunity.


Our recommendations:
The following three varieties all taste very similar but look different in the pot!

Common Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is used for general cooking.  Rosemary officinalis Prostratus (looks very pretty in its pot as it drapes over the sides.  It boasts attractive flowers and lovely aromatic foliage).  Rosemary 'Miss Jessopp's Upright' (AGM) (Pretty pale blue flowers along the stems from late spring).

 

Common Rosemary and Rosemary Prostratus

 

Rosemary 'Miss Jessopp's Upright'

 

Parsley
A natural in fish and meat sauces, salads and soups, dips, omelettes, breads and sandwiches. This herb is used more for garnishing than flavouring.  It is commonly sprinkled over dishes minutes before serving, so the aromatic herb plays its role in ‘tickling’ the taste buds. Dark green in colour with short stems, its fresh scent accentuates the flavour of any dish. Personally, I’m partial to parsley in stuffing.

Why is it good for us?

  • Acts as a great mouth freshener and helps you get rid of bad breath caused by onion and garlic.
  • Aids digestion and boosts immunity particularly, the common cold as it’s a good source of Vitamin C and A.


Our recommendations are:
Flat Leaf/Italian Parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) and Curly Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum).  Flat Leaf is very flavoursome and is used during cooking the dish as it retains its flavour until the end.  Curly Leaf is less fragrant and bitter in taste, it is a popular garnishing ingredient for soups and salads.

Flat and Curly Leaf Parsley

 

Sage
Fresh Sage is the most flavourful and fragrant, making the most pungent recipes.  Known for its long, circular leaves and a strong peppery flavour, this relatively flexible herb plays the role of a seasoning ingredient for fatty meats such as poultry and pork, which is during the early phase of cooking.  This is mainly because it helps in digestion and ensures a toned flavour.  It is also a great compliment to stuffed foods such as risotto, tomato sauces, potatoes and beans.

For something more exotic, you could fry sage leaves and enjoy them as a snack.  Fried sage leaves are considered a gourmet snack by a friend of mine and are (apparently) a lovely pairing with cheese.  Alternatively, season with coarse sea salt, and eat them straight out of your hand like crisps.

Sprinkling roughly chopped sage leaves near the end of caramelizing onions or mushrooms, omelettes, and even tea are other delicious ways to use this winning herb, not forgetting sage and onion stuffing of course!

Why is it good for us?

  • Aids digestion.
  • Recommended to treat inflammatory conditions such as rheumatic arthritis and bronchial asthma.


Our recommendations:
Green Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’).  Green sage is generally best for cooking whilst Purple Sage looks great in the garden (but can also be used for cooking).

 

Green Sage and Purple Sage 


Chives
This perennial member of the onion family is packed with antioxidants and vitamins A and C.  Chives have a light onion flavour and can be used in many dishes.  Their leaves and edible flowers make them indispensable for garnishing potato salad, soups and other savoury dishes. 

For me, it is a staple when making a simple egg mayo sandwich – forget cress, chives are the way to go!

Why is it good for us?

  • Eases digestive discomfort.
  • Boosts immune system.
  • Beneficial for preventing various types of cancer and heart disease.


Our recommendations:
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have a mild onion flavour and Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) boast a mild garlic flavour.

 

Chives and Garlic Chives

 

All our recommendations are now available amongst hundreds of other varieties.  

Our 1 Litre pots are £3.75 each when you buy 3 or more pots and Coolings Family Members can enjoy Buy One Get One Free with their recent Cuttings Voucher

 

 

 

 

 

 

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