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Add Flavor with Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices add fabulous flavor and color to food without adding salt, fat or sugar. Cooking with herbs and spices is also a great way to introduce a variety of flavors to children while helping foods look more appetizing.

 

The terms “herbs” and “spices” are often used interchangeably and are sometimes referred to as “seasonings,” however they are different. Herbs are the leaves of low growing shrubs and include parsley, chives, thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, and more. Herbs can be purchased dried, fresh or as a paste. When substituting in recipes, use the ratio of 3 fresh to 1 dried. For example, potato salad would use 3 Tbs. of fresh parsley or 1 Tbs. of dried parsley.

 

Spices come from the bark, roots, buds, seeds, berry, or fruit of plants and trees. Spices include cinnamon, ginger, onion, garlic, cloves, black pepper, paprika, and more.

 

Additional Ways to Add Flavor:

  • Seasoning blends include a mixture of spices and herbs such as seasoning salt, Italian seasoning, taco seasoning, and poultry seasoning. Check labels to see if “salt” is listed among the ingredients and opt for salt-free or lower sodium versions.
  • Rubs are a mixture of spices and can be wet or dry. Web rubs usually have a bit of oil or other moist ingredients such as mustard or yogurt added. Dry rubs are mixtures of several dry spices and herbs that are worked into the surfaces of meat, poultry, or fish. They are both added to enhance flavor.
  • Marinades are used to add flavor and tenderize meats and poultry. They generally contain herbs and spices, oil, and an acid such as yogurt, citrus juice, or vinegar.

 

Experiment with Herbs and Spices:

  • Add fresh mint and lemon to a glass of ice water.
  • Omit the salt when cooking pasta and flavor with basil, oregano, parsley and pepper or use an Italian seasoning blend.
  • For more flavor, add spices to uncooked dishes, such as salads, several hours before serving.
  • Introduce children to herbs and spices with some easy flavor combinations such as apples with cinnamon, bananas with nutmeg and chicken with rosemary.
  • Start a small herb garden or grow a few herbs in containers. Children will love watching them grow! This time of the year is a great time to plant some herbs. Just be cautious of the drops in temperature or potential frost.

 

Approximate equivalent amounts of different forms of herbs are:

  • 1 Tbs. finely cut fresh herbs
  • 1 tsp. crumbled dried herbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.ground dried herbs

 

Source: Nebraska Extension

 

Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. Office hours are Monday thru Friday from 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-4:00pm. Evening and lunch appointments are available, upon request. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

 

Upcoming Events

April 30 – Plant Auction, 10 am start, Fairgrounds

May 3 – Extension Office closed for Election Day

May 18 – African Violets & the Gesneriad Family Webinar, 7 pm, register at https://tinyurl.com/afviolet22  

May 23 – Container Gardening 101, Roachdale Community & Senior Center, 2 pm, register by calling 765-653-8411

May 24 – Turning Your Lawn to Garden webinar, 12 pm, register at https://women4theland.org/upcoming-events

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