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Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to add flavor to your food without adding salt, sugar, or fat. Herbs and spices also enhance the natural flavors of the foods you are cooking with! Herbs are leaves of any plant used to flavor food. Spices are any other part of the plant that is used to flavor food such as seeds, fruit, bark, buds, or roots. Many herbs and spices provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Let’s start by introducing some fresh herbs and what you can cook them with! 

herbs in pots

Basil

Flavor profile: sweet, peppery

Produce: bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini

Proteins: beef, chicken, seafood, beans, tofu

Pairs well with: garlic rosemary, thyme, oregano

In season: May – September

How to select: Choose bright green, fresh-cut stems that are perky & free of brown, yellow or wilted leaves.

How to store: Trim ends and place in a glass filled with 1 inch of water. Store on the kitchen counter away from direct sunlight up to 2 weeks.

Cilantro/Coriander

Flavor profile: bright, citrus

Produce: avocado, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, onions

Proteins: beef, chicken, pork, seafood, beans, tofu

Pairs well with: chili powder, chipotle pepper powder, lime, garlic

In season: May – September

How to select: Choose bright green, fresh-cut stems that are perky & free of brown, yellow or wilted leaves

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

fresh cilantro

Dill

Flavor profile: bitter, grassy

Produce: cabbage, potatoes, cucumber, carrots, green beans, tomatoes

Proteins: seafood, beans

Pairs well with: lemon, pepper, garlic, parsley

In season: May – September

How to select: Choose bright green, fresh-cut steams. Look for crispy, perky leaves that are not wilted.

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

fresh dill

Fennel

Flavor profile: licorice

Produce: root vegetables, cauliflower

Proteins: beef, chicken, pork, lentils

Pairs well with: garlic, oregano, thyme

In season: September – November

How to select: Choose fennel with bright white, tightly-wrapped bulbs and green feathery stems. Avoid brown spots or cuts.

How to store: Separate unwashed bulbs from stems and refrigerate both in a zip-close plastic bag up to 10 days.

fresh fennel

Garlic

Flavor profile: savory

Produce: all veggies!

Proteins: beef, poultry, seafood, pork, tofu, lentils

Pairs well with: oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, cumin, basil

In season: June – October

How to select: Choose bulbs that are firm, with tight, unbroken skins. Look for bulbs that have no signs of mold or sprouting.

How to store: Up to 2 months at room temperature in a dry area. Keep out of direct sunlight and away from potatoes.

garlic bulbs

Mint

Flavor profile: sweet, cool

Produce: carrots, watermelon, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini

Proteins: beans, lentils

Pairs well with: parsley

In season: May – October

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are perky and free of brown, yellow or wilted leaves.

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

fresh mint

Oregano

Flavor profile: earthy, peppery

Produce: tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, potatoes

Proteins: beef, beans, chicken, seafood, pork

Pairs well with: garlic, thyme, basil, chili powder 

In season: May – October

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are perky and free of brown, yellow or wilted leaves.

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Parsley

Flavor profile: fresh, grassy

Produce: mushrooms, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini

Proteins: beef, chicken, seafood, tofu

Pairs well with: garlic, oregano, thyme, sage

In season: May – September

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are perky and free of brown, yellow or wilted leaves.

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

fresh parsley

Rosemary

Flavor profile: earthy, woody

Produce: mushrooms, peas, potatoes

Proteins: beans, chicken, pork, seafood

Pairs well with: garlic, oregano, thyme, basil

In season: April – November

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are not wilted, brow, or brittle.

How to store: Wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a zip-close bag. Store up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Sage

Flavor profile: earthy, woody

Produce: Brussels sprouts, eggplant, peas, winter squash

Proteins: pork, beef, turkey

Pairs well with: garlic, thyme, oregano

In season: May – October 

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are perky and free of brown, yellow, or wilted leaves.

How to store: Wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a zip-close bag up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Or trim ends and place in a glass filled with 1 inch of water and store on the counter away from direct sunlight.

Tarragon

Flavor profile: bittersweet, licorice

Produce: root vegetables, asparagus

Proteins: beef, chicken, seafood, eggs

Pairs well with: parsley, chives 

In season: April – November

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are perky and not wilted.

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

fresh tarragon

Thyme

Flavor profile: earthy

Produce: root vegetables, tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, green beans, peas

Proteins: beef, chicken, seafood, pork, lentils

Pairs well with: oregano and rosemary

In season: year-round

How to select: Look for bright green leaves that are perky and not wilted

How to store: Place stems in a glass filled with 1 inch of water with leaves and stalks covered with a plastic bag. Store up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

fresh thyme

What are some of your favorite herbs to cook with and how do you use them? Want to learn how to grow your own herbs indoors? Read more here! Check back next month for more tips on cooking with herbs and spices!

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