Herbs and spices have been well-known since the ancient ages. Today, they are playing an important role when it comes to food preparation. They not only give variety and color but also add a distinct flavor to our food as well. Some herbs and spices alone have the ability to reduce or even replace sugar and salt in foods.
Most people would hear advice that says, “Instead of using salt, use spices and herbs for flavor.” However, not everyone is familiar with them. Despite the long list of these flavorings, there are a few who belong to the top. That being said, we will cite some of the best that should be readily available in your kitchen.
Basil belongs in the mint family or lamiaceae. In this family, you can also find basil’s cousins such as the mint leaves which have a stronger flavor and aroma. Basil on the other hand, is subtle and has gentler pop than its other cousins.
Apart from adding flavor to your meals, it also adds nutrients that give benefits to one’s health. In every serving, it can supply antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Not to mention, its oil could also provide medicinal benefits.
Basil plays an essential role in a lot of Mediterranean, mostly Italian cuisines. It adds a unique flavor to pizza, salads, pasta, and other dishes. Vietnamese and Thai cuisines also highlight this herb. If you want to learn more about how to use and other benefits of this, visiting sites like Foodal could be a good option.
Basil offers many health benefits and can be used as an essential oil and as herbal medicine. Some of its traditional uses involve treatment for inflammation of nasal passages, colds, and snakebites. It has a high eugenol content. It is a chemical agent that causes it to release a clove-like scent.
Aside from the health benefits and awesome flavor basil has, another reason why people love this plant is that it’s easy to plant. Basil is a herb and you can easily grow in a small pot outdoors. You can even grow this herb indoors, by your kitchen countertop. Just give it water and regular sunlight and you’ll have a fresh supply of basil all year round.
Rosemary is a perennial and woody herb that has evergreen and needle-like leaves that have a smell of pine and lemon. It is commonly used in French, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisines and is best paired with olive oil and garlic.
This herb is particularly useful in creating simple, yet tasty steaks. A sprig of rosemary is enough for a large steak to add a smoky intense aroma. Pair it with butter and garlic and you have yourself an elegant steak dish.
Aside from its use as a spice for your cooking, Rosemary’s oil and leaf are also being used to make medicines. It is known to help improve memory, joint pain related to arthritis, hair loss, dyspepsia, and other conditions. However, there is not enough scientific evidence that supports most of these uses.
Rosemary also contains an ingredient called rosmarinic acid. It is noted that this substance helps in suppressing nasal congestion and allergic responses. Its oil can be utilized as a fragrant ingredient in perfumes and soaps when it comes to manufacturing.
Paprika is a dry, ground spice created from the larger variety of peppers under the Capsicum annuum family. The sweet bell pepper is also under this group. It is known as a good source of paprika. People love to use it to color and season soups, stews, seafood, meat, rice, and vegetables. If you are looking for good quality, Hungarian paprika is to die for.
Because of different variations, paprika’s nutrition also varies from product to product. But, some of the most noted benefits from it is the huge amount of vitamin A it gives in one small serving.
In addition to its healthy components, paprika contains capsaicin. Although capsaicin is usually spicy, paprika doesn’t have that spiciness compared to cayenne pepper. Capsaicin helps the body fight off bacteria and viruses. It also helps increase the metabolism, making it ideal for people who want to lose weight.
4. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are usually sold dried but are very aromatic and have a woody flavor. An entire sprig of bay leaves are so strong that even a single leaf can already add flavor to marinades, soups, and stews. You might want to take note that there are two varieties of culinary bay leaves: the California and Turkish bay leaves.
One of the advantages of using bay leaves when you cook is that it can add an excellent flavor to your food without the need to add extra calories, fat, and sodium. Lastly, using a ground bay leaf lets you consume a fair amount of iron, manganese, vitamins A, C, B6, as well as calcium.
This herb is one of the perennial herbs that have a warm, slightly bitter taste and is aromatic. Surprisingly, oregano is tastier when dried than fresh. Italian-American cuisines commonly use this, and is highly considered to be a pizza herb. It is regularly used with salads, fish, meat, vegetables, and even Mediterranean kebab and barbecue recipes.
Oregano is also being used as an aromatic oil and as a supplement. It has carvacrol, ocimene, caryophyllene, and terpinene that gives it scent and flavor. These chemicals have a significant contribution to the health benefits of oregano oil. Oregano even provides other antioxidants when being consumed in the diet.
In the old days, herbs and spices were equal or even more valuable than gold. Merchants and explorers scoured the planet for these elusive plants. Today, herbs and spices are readily available and have been playing an essential role in the world of cooking ever since. They are a big help in terms of improving the taste and even in the presentation of your food. In case you are planning to fill your kitchen with them, this list can be an excellent help.