You might always wonder why I have fresh herbs in almost all of my recipes I post here. Well, for one I love the flavor of fresh herbs and another reason I was basically raised having a garden and growing our fruits & vegetables was a must. Why would we go buy tomatoes at the grocery store when we could just grow them in our backyard? Read below on fresh herbs vs. dried. Enjoy-
Using herbs and spices can help you lower the amount of fat and salt in recipes when these are used as flavorings. Herbs and spices can also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Although you can substitute dried herbs for for fresh herbs, the effect isn’t always the same.
Fresh herbs provide a better flavor than using dried. The only fall back is you would have to use three times the amount of fresh herbs vs. the dried. (Due to fresh herbs containing water.)
The use of using dried herbs would mainly be for recipes with a long cooking time and should be added in the beginning of the recipe. Fresh herbs should be used during the end of the cooking session to make sure you do not overcook them.
Fresh herbs are more nutritious than dried herbs, since they contain more antioxidants. Test the freshness of dried herbs by crumbling a small amount. If they smell strong, they are still good to use.
*Herbs with healing powers-
Rosemary is proven to treat digestive trouble and also have many antioxidants that may prevent cellular damage caused by cancer and other serious health conditions. The essential oil which is distracted from rosemary can help stimulate hair growth, treat muscle and joint pain as well. (My family is actually in the process of making a rosemary essential oil, at http://www.lavenderfieldsforever.com)
Another strong healing herb is Lavender. Hence this is why we have our lavender company, Friends of the Earth Lavender. (See above for website.) Lavender can be a healing agent for many properties such as, migraines, acne, bug bites, sunburn, insomnia, pain, can relax muscles and more. Really great for cooking as well. It is funny that I am actually telling you all this but growing up in our lavender farm, I never liked the smell of lavender. As I got older, I realized the benefits of lavender and what it can do, and I haven’t stopped using our oil since 2000. I always put a few drops in my bath water so I can relax. You should try it sometime, whether you use it for relaxation purposes or even to cook with.
Peppermint is one of the best herbs as well. Adding fresh or dried peppermint to your diet can help improve your digestive system. This herb has a calming effect on the stomach muscles. When you eat or drink peppermint, the food moves quickly in your stomach. Studies have shown that peppermint can be used for cold and flu remedies and it can be used to kill the virus or bacteria. You can also use peppermint for skin issues such as, hives, rashes, poison oak, or poison ivy. (Good to know for you campers out there.) 🙂
* Know what you are cooking with and what it can do for your body. If you are in a grocery store and see some fresh herbs you have never heard of or you might want to try, try it out and see what else these herbs can offer.
* Photo taken by Nestor Z Photography @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/nestorz/