The Power of Fresh Herbs

A few small bunches of fresh cut herbs hanging upside-down from twine against a grey/green wooden wall.
  • November 4, 2020

Every year I plant a small collection of culinary herbs near the kitchen door for easy cutting.  I love the ritual of getting my kitchen shears and clipping a few handfuls. Freshly clipped herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme are a breeze to add to dishes. These delightful herbs brighten summer tomatoes, season lanky green beans, and add a splash of color to grilled fish.

One of my favorite new salads has chopped fresh dill mixed into the lettuce greens. While the dill is a featherweight addition to the salad, it adds a punch of flavor and a hefty nutritional boost[1].  The tender dill leaves and salad greens don’t need a heavy blanket of dressing. Just a splash of fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, or oil-free dressing, brings them to life.

Rainbow of Flavors

Moving away from using salt and pepper as the main way of adding flavor has two benefits. First, reducing salt is a key ingredient to improving your overall health. Secondly, using fresh herbs instead opens our palates to the rainbow of flavors that herbs have to offer. Not only do fresh herbs add a welcomed depth of flavor to a dish, but they also add untapped nutritional, anti-inflammatory[2] and antioxidant benefits[3] as well.

Storing Fresh Herbs

For herbs that I buy at the store, such as flat-leaf parsley, it's easy to keep them fresh at home. I simply wash, place the stems in a glass of water[4], and display like a bouquet of flowers in my kitchen window.  Not only is it a treat to see, but it also makes it more likely I'll use them. It's easy to pull a handful from the bunch, chop, and toss into my whole wheat pasta or sprinkle on top of a cup of gazpacho soup.

This week take time to bring fresh herbs into your kitchen. Take a look at the grocery store for potted herbs. Peruse the aisles of the garden store for the treasure chest of flavor and health fresh herbs have to offer.


[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92763/

[2] https://oldwayspt.org/system/files/atoms/files/FoodMed_12Ways_HerbsSpices.pdf

[3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319728

[4] https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food/keep-herbs-fresh-and-safe

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