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Lambetton – Cooking summer vegetables with fresh herbs is a sweet twist on summer produce. The Robinson County Farmers’ Market is now open, and it’s a perfect time to explore growing and / or fresh vegetables as other products stand around the county. Whether you plant them yourself or buy them at a farmer’s market or grocery store, adding fresh herbs is a quick way to convert ordinary foods into unfamiliar foods.

In addition to helping flavor foods reduce salt, fat, and sugar, herbs can provide additional benefits. Researchers say that many herbs (both fresh and dried) contain antioxidants that help prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Cutting fresh herbs into a dish also immediately enhances its appearance!

Unless recommended by your recipe, add more sweet herbs like basil, chive, cilantro, dill leaf, parsley and mint a minute or two before serving, or sprinkle over food before serving. Less gentle herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme, can add up to the last 20 minutes of cooking. A general guideline for using fresh herbs in cooking is to triple the amount of dried herbs. When they are replaced, fresh herbs are often more successful than dried plants. For example, think of a potato salad with fresh and dried peppers!

Buy herbs near the time you plan to use them. When plants grow in your own garden, the best time to pick them is in the morning before they are dry. This helps ensure the best taste and storage quality. Fresh herbs can be kept in an open or perforated plastic bag for a few days in a clean drawer in your refrigerator. If you do not have access to commercial perforated bags, use a sharp object to make several small holes in a regular plastic bag.

If you have more plants than you can eat, enjoy a bouquet of herbs in your home. You can use both single plants, a combination of plants, or you can use the plant as a green mixed with other flowers. Keep your bouquets in direct sunlight to preserve the aroma and color of the flowers.

One of the best ways to use fresh herbs is to know. Here are a few suggestions;

– Basil is good with tomatoes and is scary in the new pest.

– Onions can be added to dips, potatoes and tomatoes.

– Celandro is used for salsa and tomatoes and is used in cooking in Mexico, Asia and the Caribbean.

– Dill improves the taste of carrots, cottage cheese, fish, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes.

Mint is often used in carrots, fruit salads, peppers, peas, turmeric and tea.

– Oregano adds flavor to peppers and tomatoes.

– Parsley – Twisted leaf is very common, but flat leaf or Italian parsley has a stronger flavor and is often preferred for cooking. Includes parsley, potato salad, tabobul and egg salad sandwiches.

– Rosemary is often used in chicken, fish, lamb, pork, fried potatoes, soups, stews and tomatoes.

– Wise can improve beef, chicken, potatoes, pork, carrots and summer squash.

– Tim is often served with egg yolks, beans, potatoes, poultry, summer pumpkins and tomatoes.

Taken from fresh herbs from Nebraska Lincoln Extension University – Healthy Eating Picture.

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