Fresh herbs not only add fantastic flavour to food, reducing the need for salt, but are also renowned for their medicinal benefits.
Herbs are the leaves and sometimes the stems of edible plants which generally don’t have woody stalks.
Spices are different – they are usually the bark or seed of the plant.
WHY USE HERBS?
Fresh herbs add fantastic flavour to food and are essential in many dishes where dried versions simply wouldn’t work. Imagine pesto without fresh fragrant basil, tabbouleh without vibrant green parsley, carrot and coriander soup without the pungency of fresh leaves, or new potatoes with dried mint.
Dried herbs however are essential for the storecupboard and vital through the winter months when some tender herbs aren’t available.
Make the most of fresh herbs when you can get – or grow – them.
Fresh herbs freeze well, either as whole sprigs or chopped in ice cube trays with a little water.
Herbal remedies have been used through the ages. Herbs are renowned for their medicinal benefits – to protect against germs, to heal and as disinfectants.
They do contain ‘traditional’ nutrients such as vitamin C, but unless you’re eating huge amounts of them (potentially possible with parsley, basil and coriander) this is not the main health benefit.
It is the volatile oils and phytochemicals they contain which are thought to have the most impact on health and be the most important factor in herbal remedies.
Using any fresh herb will give you some valuable antioxidants and many will also reward you with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties as well as digestive support
HERBAL REMEDIES: WHICH HERBS FOR WHAT?
There are thousands of herbs around the world, some of which can be grown in England and others which need to be imported.
Getting a fresh herb from ground to plate as quickly as possible is important for maintaining maximum flavour and health properties, so focus on culinary herbs which are grown seasonally in England.
Better still, grow your own. Growing herbs is easy!