Food is incomplete without herbs and spices in it. However, herbs add more taste and aroma to the food. Herbs are the beautiful things, which transform any dish from dull to extraordinary with just a few dashes. Adding a bunch of basil leaves in a boring tomato sauce makes the most delicious pasta sauce you could ever imagine. Replacing basil with oregano will give you an unforgettable pizza sauce. Keeping both herbs in the sauce can make you a fantastic marinara.
Zucchini can be boring to eat; however, garnish some slices with a few mint sprigs and watch them becoming mouth-watering delicious appetizers. According to the almighty Wikipedia, herbs are used for flavoring, food, medicine, soaps, and perfume.
Culinary herbs can be perennials, also known as shrubs, which include:
- Biennials such as parsley
- Annuals like basil
- Trees such as bay laurel
However, some of them are used as both herbs and spices, and it’s easy to grow them on your own. Here are some of the herbs, which are a must to be used and kept in every household.
- Mint: It is one of the widely used herbs in the world, and is found in both hot and cold dishes. It can have some kick because it is fresh; however, mint leaves are refreshing and have a very pleasant flavor profile after-taste.
- Coriander: This is also known as cilantro and is a very fragrant herb. It is so fragrant that some people even have an issue with it and consider it a bit soapy and off-putting. The leaf is fragile; hence, it will go bad quickly. Its stems are edible and more suitable than the leaves when it comes to cooking them.
- Basil: One of the most easily recognized herbs in cooking is basil. It is delicate, fragrant, and gives great flavor to soups and salads. It has smooth and pointy leaves that resemble the shape of water drops. It goes perfectly with tomatoes, shrimps, strawberries, pasta, beef, and mozzarella.
- Parsley: Another common herb for cooking and is easier to use than the rest of the herbs. It is mild and does not overpower easily, as mint does. Look for the curly parsley in the market by its distinctive frilly appearance.
- Chive: Not to be confused with green onion, this herb is almost like an onion. It has a distinctive garlicky flavor. It has long, straight, and tabular pointy stems, which makes it easy to be identified in the market.
- Dill: This herb has an incredibly fresh and clean aroma and delicate flavor, which leaves a very light and adds a soft flavor profile to any dish.
- Thyme: This is one of those herbs that can change the flavor of any dish, and should be found in every kitchen. Its tiny leaves smell so good, lemony, pungent, and earthy at the same time.
- Oregano: Oregano is more flavorful when used in its dry form, just like Bay leaves. However, it is pungent and slightly bitter.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is a powerful herb. It’s green, woody, and has a very fragrant tangy smell.
- Sage: Sage is an under-estimated herb in the kitchen. This herb is excellent in sauces, with steaks and potatoes. It is pungent, minty, and musky.
- Cannabis: Cannabis is gaining popularity, as are the terpenes that are extracted from the plant. If you are looking for a cannabis flavor profile, without the effects of the THC compound, using cannabis terpenes in your food will give you the flavor without the high.
Cooking is an art, herbs and spices help to make up the complexity of a dish’s flavor profile. Understanding how to combine these ingredients to make amazing foods is just part of the process. Cooking techniques, pairing side dishes, and pairing beverages are all part of making the complete meal.