Whether fresh or dry, herbs are awesome. Don’t let their small statures fool you, they are stronger than you think. Together their many variations create what is often the only difference in international cuisines. Shocking truth: cooking across cultures is not actually all that different. Just a different herb there, a little spice here–Indian food. Switch it up, and its Moroccan on the menu.
Here are 6 reasons why you should be using more herbs in your cooking:
1. They’re inexpensive – Ignoring the obvious outliers of the spice world like Saffron threads, most spices run around $4 or $5.
2. They don’t (really) expire – Assuming you’re not buying turmeric by the ton, you should have plenty of time to use it up before you’d ever have to throw it out.
3. They have secret super powers – Ginger aids digestion, Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels, and Turmeric is thought to not only have cancer fighting properties, but is also said to prevent the cognitive degeneration that comes with age.
4. They are au natural – Sauces and marinades are OK sometimes, but most of them contain artificial flavors and preservatives. They are high in calories due to their sugar content, and have more sodium in each serving than anyone really needs. Speaking of…
5. They reduce salt intake – See ya later bloat, cooking with fresh or dried herbs can decrease a dish’s need for additional salt. Which is also good news for anyone with high blood pressure.
6. Highly customizable flavor – When it comes to herbs and spices, experimentation is encouraged. Dried spice rubs are one of the easiest ways to flavor meat, fish or chicken. Using recipes as guidelines, you can add more of what you like and less of what you don’t, giving you a result that is 100% to your liking.
If you’re wondering what you need, don’t fret mon frere. My list of dried herbs/spices (assuming you already own a sea salt and whole peppercorn grinder…please say you do) as follows:
- Paprika (regular and smoked)
- Granulated Onion
- Dried Rosemary
- Dried Thyme
- Cayenne Pepper
- White pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Chili Powder ( I use regular, chipotle and ancho)
- Ground Mustard
- Ground Ginger
- Bay Leaf
There will always be a space in my fridge for BBQ and teriyaki – but when it comes to food (and life) it’s all about finding balance. If you can manage to incorporate herbs and spices into your meals even 2 times a week, that’s great. So, don’t let their strange names deter you – herbs are your friends, take the time to get acquainted. –China Moss