Proper seasoning is what gives your food flavor. Cooking becomes more enjoyable when you have a deeper understanding of herbs and spices. This way, you will be able to experiment with different things and make your food more interesting.
When you know the basics of herbs and spices, you can do a lot more with them instead of just blindly following the recipe. In this guide, we will help you comprehend how to better use spice and herbs in your food.
An Overview of Herbs and Spices
Many instances, we have seen people using herbs and spices in some context- that is a product used to season your food. However, herbs are derived from aromatic plants that are grown within a particular temperate zone.
Spices, on the other hand, are products that come from tropical plants. While in herbs mostly leaves are used, spices may be derived berries, seeds, roots, flower buds, and bark.
Nutritional Value of Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices have very little nutritional value; instead, they are primarily used for coloring or flavoring the food. Generally, they are low in fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol. However, some oil-enriched seeds such as sesame, poppy, etc. contain a moderate amount of calories.
Additionally, seasonings such as parsley or celery flakes also have some amount of sodium. Considering that these are often used in the food in a very small amount, there are no major health concerns associated with it.
Tips to Use Spice and Herbs in Your Food
Below we are sharing some useful tips that will help you in using these flavorful ingredients in the right way –
- Herbs and spices can be quite expensive; therefore, you do not want to hoard them without knowing where to use them. So, you should simply start with basic herbs and spices that you are going to use on a regular basis, such as basil, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, etc.
- If you are trying a new spice or herb, test its flavour by mixing it with cream cheese, butter, or margarine. Let the mixture rest for at least an hour and taste it with a cracker or plain bread.
- If you are looking to add a strong flavour to your food, then you can add cardamom, bay leaf, ginger, rosemary, mustard, pepper, and sage. If you are making a Beef Rendang Curry, then you would certainly need these herbs and spices.
- For medium flavour go for a couple of tablespoons of celery seeds, basil, dill, cumin, marjoram, French tarragon, fennel, oregano, mint, turmeric, savory, thyme.
- For subtle flavour, you can include chervil, burnet, parsley, chives.
- Dried herbs are stronger in flavour than fresh ones because of the concentration of chemicals in them. Additionally, powdered spices offer stronger as opposed to crumbled spices because they can be mixed easily.
Along with knowing how to use herbs and spices properly, it is equally important that you store them in a proper manner. Make sure you keep your herbs and spices in an airtight container and store then in cool, dry places. It is always better to store them in glass or stainless steel containers and away from direct sunlight.