How to Include Herbal Health Trends in Your Recipes

 

Cooking with fresh herbs is a fun way to add more flavor to your favorite recipes. It can also be one of the keys that unlock better health for you and your family.

Herbal health trends and general wellness are popular today because many people spend more time in their kitchen. Coronavirus lockdowns prevent access to some restaurants, making it more cost-effective to grab your own food from the grocery store.

Learning how to add herbs appropriately to each dish can be challenging. You may need to know when dried options are a better choice, what garnishes are useful, and how to balance the flavor profile.

Why Are Fresh Herbs Challenging to Use?

Many people use dried herbs in their cooking because it is an affordable and convenient way to add bursts of flavor. The dehydration process condenses the taste the herbs offer, creating a stronger profile that can overwhelm a recipe if too much gets added.

The standard recommendation with recipes is to use 50% of the dried herbs when fresh ones are called for in the instructions.

Fresh herbs tend to turn bitter when cooking, roasting, or boiling foods for an extended time. Anything that needs to simmer longer than 45 minutes should use a dried option instead. The liquid works to rehydrate the ingredient, provide flavor, and reduce the risk of bitterness.

When you use fresh herbs, the flavor profile tends to be soft and subtle. It is challenging to get it to overwhelm a recipe because of those qualities. You’ll also get the potential health benefits of the ingredient when adding it at an appropriate amount.

Why Are Dried Herbs Challenging to Use?

Dried herbs have their own unique set of challenges to overcome when using them in the kitchen. The dehydration process does not offer indefinite preservation. If you have items over a year old in your pantry, it is time to replace them.

Older dried herbs lose their flavor rapidly at times, making them a useless addition once they’ve reached a certain age.

The dehydration process for dried herbs can pack a strong flavor punch, but you may lose a substantial number of nutrients in return. If you want to include herbal health trends with your meals, the only viable option for many plants is to use the fresh variety.

When you shop for herbs, try to find living options in the produce section. Once the ingredient gets harvested, the degradation process starts. If that option isn’t available, look for bunches with vibrant aromas and colors. Pry open anything wrapped in plastic so that you can smell the ingredient. 

If you can’t smell anything, it is unlikely you’ll add any flavor to your recipe. 

You can also grow herbs at home without much difficulty. When you cut a sprig of basil or thyme to use immediately, you’re ensuring the maximum amount of flavor goes into your food. You’re also wasting less because you cut what is needed for that dish only.

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