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HERBS & SPICES
HERBS & SPICES

WHAT ARE HERBS?

* Leaves of plants that lack woody stems. * Typically, the green, leafy part of the plant is used in cooking. * The plants are grown for their flavor and medicinal value. * Some define herbs as plants with healing properties.

Herbs: Leaves, stems, and flowers of aromatic plants * Fresh: More aromatic; cleaner flavor * Dried: Stronger, but often harsher flavor; less expensive; crumbling lightly before use will release oils

USING HERBS

Fresh herbs
*Ready to eat foods-add as early as possible to allow the flavor to be released
*Cooked foods-add toward the end to prevent bitter flavors and burnt looking herbs

Dried Herbs
*Ready to eat foods-early in the cooking process
*Cooked foods-early in the cooking process
*If the recipe calls for fresh and you are using dried you need to ½ the amount.

HISTORY
As far back as 5000 BCE, Sumerians used herbs in medicine. Ancient Egyptians used fennel, coriander and thyme around 1555 BCE. In ancient Greece, in 162 CE, a physician by the name of Galen was known for concocting complicated herbal remedies that contained up to 100 ingredients.

CULINARY HERBS
Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food.
Culinary herbs can come in two different forms. They can be in their natural state which is straight

from the garden or bought in store, however once they are removed from the main plant they have a life expectancy of around one week if they are refrigerated. Then there is dried herbs, this form of herb is a much more concentrated than if it is fresh, these herbs can be kept anywhere from 6–12 months in a cool dark place.
Herbs can be perennials such as thyme or lavender, biennials such as parsley, or annuals like basil. Perennial herbs can be shrubs such as rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, or trees such as bay laurel, Laurus nobilis – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both herbs and spices, such as dill weed and dill seed or coriander leaves and seeds. Also, there are some Herbs such as those in the mint family that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb)

WHAT ARE SPICES? * Spices are dried roots, stems, and seeds of plants that are usually grown in the tropics. * Aromatic substances of vegetable origin used as a preservative * Used to add flavor and zest to foods.
A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or other vegetable substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. Many spices haveantimicrobial properties. This may explain why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates, which have more infectious diseases, and why the use of spices is proeminent in meat, which is particularly susceptible to spoiling.[1] Spices are sometimes used inmedicine, religious rituals, cosmetics or perfume production, or as a vegetable.

Spices:
Bark, root, seeds, buds, or berries of aromatic plants

USING SPICES
Dried Spices

Whole
*Retain flavor and oils longer
*Added early in cooking process to allow for release of flavor

Ground
*Lose flavor and oils more rapidly
*Diffuse flavor into dish more quickly

EARLY HISTORY

The spice trade developed throughout South Asia and Middle East by at least 2000 BCE with cinnamon and black pepper, and in East Asia with herbs and pepper. The Egyptians used herbs for mummification and their demand for exotic spices and herbs helped stimulate world trade. The word spice comes from the Old French word espice, which became epice, and which came from the Latin root spec, the noun referring to "appearance, sort, and kind": species has the same root. By 1000 BCE, medical systems based upon herbs could be found in China, Korea, and India. Early uses were connected with magic, medicine, religion, tradition, and preservation.

MIDDLE AGES
Spices were among the most demanded and expensive products available in Europe in the Middle Ages,[5] the most common being black pepper, cinnamon (and the cheaper alternative cassia), cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Given medieval medicine's main theory of humourism, spices and herbs were indispensable to balance "humors" in food,[6] a daily basis for good health at a time of recurrent pandemics.

EARLY MODERN PERIOD
The control of trade routes and the spice-producing regions were the main reasons that Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama sailed to India in 1499.[8] Spain and Portugal were not happy to pay the high price that Venice demanded for spices. At around the same time, Christopher Columbus returned from the New World, he described to investors new spices available there.
What are herbs and spices used for?
*Enhance flavor in foods, especially salads, casseroles, soups, and meats.
*They can be sweet, Smokey, hot, or bland.
*Some herbs are also used to cure diseases in certain cultures.

What is the difference between herbs and spices?
*Spices and herbs are both from plants and are used in very small amounts to flavor food.

"Spice" refers to seasonings made from dried seeds or bark. Spices generally originate in the Far East and tropical countries.

"Herb" refers to any plant with fleshy parts that are used in brewing tea and seasoning foods, or as medicines.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice)

NAME THAT HERB!

BASIL
Basil also called great basil or Saint-Joseph's-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints). It is also called the "king of herbs" and the "royal herb". The name "basil" comes from Greek (basilikón phutón), "royal/kingly plant".
Basil is possibly native to India, and has been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It was thoroughly familiar to the Greek authors Theophrastus and Dioscorides. It is a hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Taiwan. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.
There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil (or Genovese basil), as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum), and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as "African blue".
To date, there are no scientifically established health benefits of consuming basil leaves or oil.

CULINARY USES
Basil is most commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The dried herb also loses most of its flavor, and what little flavor remains tastes very different, with a weak coumarin flavor, like hay.
Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce.
The most commonly used Mediterranean basil cultivars are "Genovese", "Purple Ruffles", "Mammoth", "Cinnamon", "Lemon", "Globe", and "African Blue". The Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves to thick soups (Chinese: pinyin: gēngtāng). They also eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves. Basil (most commonly Thai basil) is commonly steeped in cream or milk to create an interesting flavor in ice cream or chocolates (such as truffles). The leaves are not the only part of basil used in culinary applications, the flower buds have a more subtle flavor and they are edible.
Thai basil is also a condiment in the Vietnamese noodle soup, phở.

Seeds
When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such asfaluda, sharbat-e-rihan, or hột é.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil)

BAY LEAF

Bay leaf refers to the aromatic leaves of several plants used in cooking.

These include: * Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae). Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. The leaves should be removed from the cooked food before eating. The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying. * California bay leaf – the leaf of the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica, Lauraceae), also known as California laurel, Oregon myrtle, and pepperwood, is similar to the Mediterranean bay laurel, but has a stronger flavor. * Indian bay leaf or malabathrum (Cinnamomum tamala, Lauraceae) is somewhat similar in appearance to the leaves of bay laurel, but is culinarily quite different, having a fragrance and taste similar to cinnamon (cassia) bark, but milder. * Indonesian bay leaf or Indonesian laurel (salam leaf, Syzygium polyanthum, Myrtaceae) is not commonly found outside of Indonesia; this herb is applied to meat and, less often vegetables. * West Indian bay leaf, the leaf of the West Indian bay tree (Pimenta racemosa, Myrtaceae), used culinarily and to produce the colognecalled bay rum. * Mexican bay leaf (Litsea glaucescens, Lauraceae).

Taste and aroma
If eaten whole, bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. As with many spices and flavorings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme. Myrcene, which is a component of many essential oils used in perfumery, can be extracted from the bay leaf. They also contain the essential oil eugenol.

Uses
Bay leaves were used for flavoring by the ancient Greeks. They are a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in the Americas. They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood, vegetable dishes, and sauces. The leaves also flavor many classic French dishes. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet garni) and removed before serving (they can be abrasive in the digestive tract). Thai cuisine employs bay leaf (Thai name bai kra wan) in a few Arab-influenced dishes, notably massaman curry.
In Indian and Pakistani cuisine, bay laurel leaves are sometimes used in place of Indian bay leaf, although they have a different flavor. They are most often used in rice dishes likebiryani and as an ingredient in garam masala. Bay (laurel) leaves are frequently packaged as tejpatta (the Hindi term for Indian bay leaf), creating confusion between the two herbs.
In the Philippines, dried bay laurel leaves are added as a spice in the Filipino dish Adobo.
Bay leaves can also be crushed or ground before cooking. Crushed bay leaves impart more of their desired fragrance than whole leaves, but are more difficult to remove, and thus they are often used in a muslin bag or tea infuser. Ground bay laurel may be substituted for whole leaves, and does not need to be removed, but it is much stronger due to the increased surface area and in some dishes the texture may not be desirable.
Bay leaves can also be used scattered in a pantry to repel meal moths, flies, roaches, mice, and silverfish.
Bay leaves have been used in entomology as the active ingredient in killing jars. The crushed, fresh, young leaves are put into the jar under a layer of paper. The vapors they release kill insects slowly but effectively, and keep the specimens relaxed and easy to mount. The leaves discourage the growth of molds. They are not effective for killing large beetles and similar specimens, but insects that have been killed in a cyanide killing jar can be transferred to a laurel jar to await mounting. It is not clear to what extent the effect is due to cyanide released by the crushed leaves, and to what extent other volatile products are responsible.

Safety
Some members of the laurel family, as well as the unrelated but visually similar mountain laurel and cherry laurel, have leaves that are poisonous to humans and livestock. While these plants are not sold anywhere for culinary use, their visual similarity to bay leaves has led to the oft-repeated belief that bay leaves should be removed from food after cooking because they are poisonous. This is not true – bay leaves may be eaten without toxic effect. However, they remain very stiff even after thorough cooking, and if swallowed whole or in large pieces, they may pose a risk of scratching the digestive tract or even causing choking. There are multiple cases of intestinal perforations caused by swallowing bay leaves, and they should not be swallowed or left in the food before serving to prevent the occurrence of a possibly fatal surgical emergency. Thus, most recipes that use bay leaves will recommend their removal after the cooking process has finished.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_leaf)

CHIVES

Chives is the common name of Allium schoenoprasum, an edible species of the Allium genus.
A perennial plant, it is widespread in nature across much of Europe, Asia and North America.
The name of the species derives from the Greek skhoínos (sedge) andpráson (leek). Its English name, chives, derives from the French word cive, from cepa, the Latin word for onion.
Chives are a commonly used herb and can be found in grocery stores or grown in home gardens. In culinary use, the scapes and the unopened, immature flower buds are diced and used as an ingredient for fish, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.
The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They believed eating chives could increase blood pressure and act as a diuretic.
Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling. It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil.

Uses
Chives are grown for their scapes, which are used for culinary purposes as a flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavor than those of other Allium species.
Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France, Sweden and elsewhere.[16] In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora (Försök til en flora), Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches.[16] They are also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes. In Poland and Germany, chives are served with quark cheese. Chives are one of the "fines herbes" of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil or parsley. Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making them readily available; they can also be dry-frozen without much impairment to the taste, giving home growers the opportunity to store large quantities harvested from their own gardens.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chives)

CILANTRO

Coriander ( Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking.

Uses
All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking. Coriander is used in cuisines throughout the world.

Leaves

The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, fresh coriander, dhania, Chinese parsley, or (in the US and commercially in Canada) cilantro.
Coriander potentially may be confused with culantro (Eryngium foetidum L.), an apiacea-like coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), but in a different genus. Culantro has a distinctly different spiny appearance, a more potent volatile leaf oil and a stronger aroma.
The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus overtones. However, some people find the leaves to have an unpleasant soapy taste or a rank smell and avoid them.
The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods (such as chutneys and salads); in Chinese and Thai dishes; in Mexican cooking, particularly in salsa and guacamole and as a garnish; and in salads in Russia and other CIS countries. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on Indian dishes such as dal. As heat diminishes their flavour, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavour diminishes. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen.

Fruits

Dried coriander fruits, often called "coriander seeds" when used as a spice
The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds. The word "coriander" in food preparation may refer solely to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed, due to terpenes linalool and pinene. It is described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured.

Food applications
It is commonly found both as whole dried seeds and in ground form. Roasting or heating the seeds in a dry pan heightens the flavour, aroma, and pungency. Ground coriander seed loses flavour quickly in storage and is best ground fresh. Coriander seed is a spice in garam masala and Indian curries which often employ the ground fruits in generous amounts together with cumin, acting as a thickener in a mixture called dhana jeera.
Roasted coriander seeds, called dhana dal, are eaten as a snack. They are the main ingredient of the two south Indian dishes: sambhar and rasam.
Outside of Asia, coriander seed is used widely in the process for pickling vegetables. In Germany and South Africa (see boerewors), the seeds are used while making sausages. In Russia and Central Europe, coriander seed is an occasional ingredient in rye bread (e.g. Borodinsky bread), as an alternative to caraway.
The Zuni people of North America have adapted it into their cuisine, mixing the powdered seeds ground with chile and using it as a condiment with meat, and eating leaves as a salad.[18]
Coriander seeds are used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian wheat beers. The coriander seeds are used with orange peel to add a citrus character.

Roots

Having a deeper, more intense flavor than the leaves, coriander roots are used in a variety of Asian cuisines, especially in Thai dishes such as soups or curry pastes.

Nutrients
The nutritional profile of coriander seeds is different from the fresh stems or leaves. Leaves are particularly rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, with moderate content of dietary minerals (table above). Although seeds generally have lower content of vitamins, they do provide significant amounts of dietaryfiber, calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium and manganese.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriander

DILL

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae.
It is the sole species of the genus Anethum.

Culinary use
Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called "dill weed" to distinguish it from dill seed) are widely used as herbs in Europe and central Asia.
Like caraway, the fernlike leaves of dill are aromatic and are used to flavor many foods such as gravlax (cured salmon) and other fish dishes, borscht and other soups, as well as pickles (where the dill flower is sometimes used). Dill is best when used fresh as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves retain their flavor relatively well for a few months.
Dill seed, having a flavor similar to caraway but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed, is used as a spice. Dill oil is extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant. The oil from the seeds is distilled and used in the manufacturing of soaps.
Dill is the eponymous ingredient in dill pickles: cucumbers preserved in salty brine and/or vinegar.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dill)

LEMON GRASS

Cymbopogon, better known as lemongrass is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family. Some species (particularly Cymbopogon citratus), are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon). Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad,hierba Luisa, or gavati chaha, amongst many others.

Uses
Lemongrass is widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisine and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico. Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties. Despite its ability to repel some insects, such as mosquitoes, its oil is commonly used as a "lure" to attract honey bees. "Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee's Nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this, lemongrass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees."

C. citratus from the Philippines, where it is locally known as tanglad
Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grow to about 2 m (6.6 ft) and have magenta-colored base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent(especially mosquitoes)[11] in insect sprays and candles, and in aromatherapy, which is famous in Bintan Island, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Therefore, its origin is assumed to be Indonesia. The principal chemical constituents of citronella,geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, as a flavoring.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbopogon

MARJORAM

Marjoram (Origanum majorana, Majorana hortensis Moench, Majorana majorana is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle Eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano, and there the names sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram are used to distinguish it from other plants of the genus Origanum. It is also called pot marjoram, although this name is also used for other cultivated species of Origanum.

Uses
Marjoram is used for seasoning soups, stews, dressings, and sauces.[8]

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoram)

MINT

Mentha (also known as mint, from Greek míntha, Linear B mi-ta) is a genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae (mint family).
Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively perennial, rarely annual, herbs. They have wide-spreading underground and over ground stolons and erect, square, branched stems. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, from oblong to lanceolate, often downy, and with a serrated margin. Leaf colors range from dark green and gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow.[6] The flowers are white to purple and produced in false whorls called verticillasters. The corolla is two-lipped with four sub equal lobes, the upper lobe usually the largest. The fruit is a nutlet, containing one to four seeds.
While the species that make up the Mentha genus are widely distributed and can be found in many environments, most grow best in wet environments and moist soils. Mints will grow 10–120 cm tall and can spread over an indeterminate area. Due to their tendency to spread unchecked, some mints are considered

Uses
The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint when storage of the mint is not a problem. The leaves have a warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste, and are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams. In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint is used on lamb dishes, while in British cuisine and American cuisine, mint sauce and mint jelly are used, respectively.
Mint is a necessary ingredient in Touareg tea, a popular tea in northern African and Arab countries. Alcoholic drinks sometimes feature mint for flavor or garnish, such as the mint julep and the mojito. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur used in drinks such as the grasshopper.
Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies, such as mint (candy) and mint chocolate. The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of peppermint and Japanese peppermint) and pulegone (in pennyroyal and Corsican mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is L-carvone.
Mints are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including buff ermine moths.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha)

OREGANO

Oregano. scientific name Origanum vulgare) is a common species of Origanum, a genus of the mint family(Lamiaceae). It is native to temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.
It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative O. majorana is known as sweet marjoram.

Uses

Dried oregano for culinary use
Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavour of its leaves, which can be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm, and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Good-quality oregano may be strong enough almost to numb the tongue, but cultivars adapted to colder climates often have a lesser flavor. Factors such as climate, season, and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present, and this effect may be greater than the differences between the various species of plants. Among the chemical compounds contributing to the flavour are carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, andcaryophyllene.

Oregano's most prominent modern use is as the staple herb of Italian-American cuisine. Its popularity in the US began when soldiers returning from World War IIbrought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”,[11] which had probably been eaten in southern Italy for centuries. There, it is most frequently used with roasted, fried, or grilled vegetables, meat, and fish. Oregano combines well with spicy foods popular in southern Italy. It is less commonly used in the north of the country, as marjoram generally is preferred.
The herb is widely used in cuisines of the Mediterranean Basin, the Philippines, and Latin America.
In Turkish cuisine, oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat, especially for mutton and lamb. In barbecue and kebab restaurants,[clarification needed] it can be usually found as a condiment, together with paprika, salt, and pepper.
The dried and ground leaves are most often used in Greece to add flavor to Greek salad, and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies fish or meat grills and casseroles.
Oregano is used in the southern Philippines to eliminate the odor of carabao or water buffalo when boiling it, while simultaneously imparting flavor.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregano)

PARSLEY

Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region (southernItaly, Algeria, and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable.
Parsley is widely used in European, Middle Eastern, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. In central Europe, eastern Europe and southern Europe, as well as and in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Root parsley is very common in central, eastern and southern European cuisines, where it is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles.

Culinary use

Tabbouleh salad

Freeze-dried parsley

Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, Brazilian and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is used often as a garnish. Green parsley is used frequently as a garnish on potato dishes (boiled or mashed potatoes), on rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), on fish, fried chicken, lamb, goose, and steaks, as well in meat or vegetable stews (including shrimp creole, beef bourguignon, goulash, or chicken paprikash).
In central Europe, eastern Europe and southern Europe, as well as in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green, chopped parsley sprinkled on top. In southern and central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used as an ingredient in stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups such as chicken soup, green salads, or salads such as salade Olivier, and on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés.

Parsley seed
Persillade is a mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley in French cuisine.
Parsley is the main ingredient in Italian salsa verde, which is a mixed condiment of parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, and bread soaked in vinegar. It is an Italian custom to serve it with bollito misto or fish. Gremolata, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew,ossobuco alla milanese.
In England, parsley sauce is a roux-based sauce, commonly served over fish or gammon.
Root parsley is very common in Central, Eastern and Southern European cuisines, where it is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles, and as ingredient for broth.
In Brazil, freshly chopped parsley (salsa [ˈsawsɐ]) and freshly chopped scallion (cebolinha [sebuˈɫĩɲɐ]) are the main ingredients in the herb seasoning called cheiro-verde ([ˈʃejɾu ˈveʁdʒi], literally "green aroma"), which is used as key seasoning for major Brazilian dishes, including meat, chicken, fish, rice, beans, stews, soups, vegetables, salads, condiments, sauces and stocks. Cheiro-verde is sold in food markets as a bundle of both types of fresh herbs. In some Brazilian regions, chopped parsley may be replaced by chopped coriander (cilantro)(coentro [ˈkwẽtɾu]) in the mixture.
Parsley is a key ingredient in several Middle Eastern salads such as Lebanese tabbouleh.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley)

ROSEMARY

Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region.
It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin for "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea".[2] The plant is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word ἄνθος, meaning "flower".[3] Rosemary has a fibrous root system.

Usage
Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens where it may have pest control effects. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings and roast meats.
Culinary use[edit]
Fresh or dried leaves are used in traditional Italian cuisine. They have a bitter, astringent taste and a characteristic aroma which complements many cooked foods.Herbal tea can be made from the leaves. When roasted with meats or vegetables, the leaves impart a mustard-like aroma with an additional fragrance of charredwood compatible with barbecued foods.
In amounts typically used to flavor foods, such as one teaspoon (1 gram), rosemary provides no nutritional value.[14][15] Rosemary extract has been shown to improve the shelf life and heat stability of omega 3-rich oils which are prone to rancidity.[16]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary

SAGE

Salvia officinalis (sage, also called garden sage, or common sage) is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the family Lamiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "sage" is also used for a number of related and unrelated species.

Uses

Sage seeds are almost spherical in shape
In Britain, sage has for generations been listed as one of the essential herbs, along with parsley, rosemary and thyme (as in the folk song "Scarborough Fair"). It has a savory, slightly peppery flavor. It appears in many European cuisines, notably Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern cookery. In Italian cuisine, it is an essential condiment for saltimbocca and other dishes, favored with fish. In British and American cooking, it is traditionally served as sage and onion stuffing, an accompaniment to roast turkey or chicken at Christmas or Thanksgiving Day. Other dishes include pork casserole, Sage Derby cheese and Lincolnshire sausages. Despite the common use of traditional and available herbs in French cuisine, sage never found favor there.
, niacin, nicotinamide, flavones, flavonoid glycosides, and estrogenic substances. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_officinalis

TARRAGON
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), also known as estragon, is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family. It is widespread in the wild across much of Eurasia and North America, and is cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes in many lands.

Tarragon has an aromatic property reminiscent of anise, due to the presence of estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in mice.

Culinary use
Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and is particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Tarragon is the main flavoring component of Béarnaise sauce. Fresh, lightly bruised sprigs of tarragon are steeped in vinegar to produce tarragon vinegar.
Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink in the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and, by extension, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The drink, named Tarhun (Armenian pronunciation: [tɑɾˈxun] Թարխուն), is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and colored bright green.
In Iran, tarragon is used as a side dish in sabzi khordan (fresh herbs), or in stews and in Persian style pickles, particularly 'khiar shoor'.
In Slovenia, tarragon is used in a variation of the traditional nut roll sweet cake, called potica. In Hungary a popular kind of chicken soup is flavored with tarragon. cis-Pellitorin, an isobutyramide eliciting a pungent taste, has been isolated from the tarragon plant.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarragon)

THYME
Thyme (/ˈtaɪm/) is an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. The most common variety is Thymus vulgaris. Thyme is of the genusThymus of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and a relative of the oregano genus Origanum.

Culinary use
In some Levantine countries, and Assyria, the condiment za'atar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient. It is a common component of the bouquet garni, and of herbes de Provence.
Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round. The fresh form is more flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. Although the fresh form only lasts a week or two under refrigeration, it can last many months if carefully frozen.[7]
Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters ("leaves") spaced 1⁄2 to 1" apart. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. Dried thyme is widely used in Armenia in tisanes (called urc).
Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g., in a bouquet garni), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded. Usually, when a recipe specifies "bunch" or "sprig", it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons, it means the leaves. It is perfectly acceptable to substitute dried for whole thyme.
Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork.
Thyme retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs. Substitution is often more complicated than that because recipes can specify sprigs, and sprigs can vary in yield of leaves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyme

NAME THAT SPICE!

ALLSPICE

Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, Turkish Yenibahar, or newspiceis the dried unripe fruit (berries, used as a spice) of Pimenta dioica, a midcanopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world.[3] The name 'allspice' was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Several unrelated fragrant shrubs are called "Carolina allspice" (Calycanthus floridus), "Japanese allspice" (Chimonanthus praecox), or "wild allspice" (Lindera benzoin). "Allspice" is also sometimes used to refer to the herb costmary (Tanacetum balsamita).

Uses
Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Caribbean jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in moles, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where it is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes. In Palestinian cuisine, for example, many main dishes call for allspice as the sole spice added for flavouring. In the U.S., it is used mostly in desserts, but it is also responsible for giving Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive aroma and flavour. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain, and appears in many dishes, including cakes. Even in many countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, as in Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers. It is a main flavour used in barbecue sauces.[citation needed] In the West Indies, an allspiceliqueur called "pimento dram" is produced.
Allspice has also been used as a deodorant. Volatile oils found in the plant contain eugenol, a weak antimicrobial agent.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allspice)…...

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