With a little flavor that is!
Herbs and spices. Pretty much everyone on the planet has come to appreciate the flavor they bring, not only in our kitchens but into our lives. Incorporating herbs and spices into your cooking is a fabulous way to give more life to any meal, and let’s not forget the immense health benefits they have.
Did you know they have their own special day?!? June 10th is National Herbs & Spices Day! To celebrate, do a little gardening or fire up your grill for a tasty barbequed meal.
Herbs are plants and are great either fresh or dried. Some examples of herbs include celery leaves, sage, savory, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, chives and parsley. Shallots, garlic and onion are examples of dehydrated vegetable seasonings. Spices are obtained from tropical fruits, berries, seeds, buds, roots, tree bark and plants. Examples of spices include paprika, black pepper, sesame, saffron, ginger and cinnamon.
Okay, as we all know, spices and herbs are incredibly full of flavor – using them to season your food will help you cut back on salt. Did you know that adding spices and herbs to food can actually make it healthier?
The red peppers – cayenne and chili – have one of the best-known benefits, a chemical known as capsaicin and that’s what gives the pepper its kick! Capsaicin can help reduce your chances of getting colon and skin cancer plus it makes you feel more satisfied with your meal and may therefore help you eat less.
Nutmeg has been indicated to have antibacterial characteristics that can protect from infection.
Cinnamon is an excellent supplement for anyone with high cholesterol and diabetes as it reduces triglycerides and blood sugar levels.
Ginger is routinely used in many Asian dishes and teas. It’s terrific for people with sensitive digestive systems including heartburn, nausea and bloating.
For anyone with a green thumb, try your hand at growing herbs in your garden. Even though the plants tend to be fairly delicate, they do not need well-fertilized soil meaning they are perfect for indoor gardening. Herbs yield a more predictable crop given that diseases and insects tend to ignore them compared to most vegetables. You can also maintain herbs all through the year, as long as they get enough sunshine. Keep in mind though that too much water will be dangerous for them, so a light misting of water will be sufficient to keep your herbs well hydrated.
To get you started, here are some seasoning pairings for your vegetables and meats:
Beef – thyme, sage, pepper, onion, nutmeg, bay leaf
Chicken – thyme, tarragon, sage, rosemary, paprika, oregano, marjoram, ginger
Fish – pepper, paprika, marjoram, dry mustard, dill, curry powder
Green Beans – thyme, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, curry powder, cumin
Potatoes – sage, parsley, paprika, onion, garlic, dill
Squash – onion, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon
Corn – parsley, paprika, onion, curry powder, cumin.
Photo Credit: rd.com/health/wellness