Zest Your Food With Fragrant Herbs

herb garden1Food for most of us, eating is an experience for our senses. Our senses relay to us information about food before we take that first bit.

The trend towards eating clean or “clean eating” involves around fresh fruits and vegetables…in plenty. Most of these foods are tasty right from the garden but others appeal more to us after we’ve given them a little boost of flavor. And, the best way to boost flavor in foods without adding on fattening sauces and gravies is to use herbs and spices to change them up.

Even the clean foods we enjoy “as is” can be changed into a new and exciting “flavor” temptations just through the creative use of herbs and spices.

There are two ways you can choose to use herbs in your dishes…you can buy dried herbs or you can use fresh herbs…grown at home or bought at the store. The biggest difference between the two is taste and potency. Fresh herbs naturally have a fresher taste. Fresh herbs are a bit more subtle in taste than dried herbs so you’ll need to use a much larger quantity than you would with dried herbs.

If you choose to go with dried herbs, it’s best to purchase fresh organic herbs because they have not been irradiated with nasty chemicals.

Fresh herbs are best if used closest to the day you purchase from the store or farmer’s market.

Italian_HerbsOnce you get your fresh herbs home, you’ll need to wash them carefully, rinsing them under clear running water. Place the washed herbs on a paper towel to dry or shake them to dry and release the excess water.

If you have large bunches of fresh herbs to clean at once such as a bunch of parsley, just place them in a bowl of cool temperature water where you can swirl them around to release any dirt. Continue to rinse the herbs in a clean bowl of water until the water stays completely clear.

Once you’ve properly dried off your fresh herbs, you’ll need to prepare them for cooking by removing the stems and leaving the leaves of the herb.

The best way to store you newly cleaned fresh herbs is in a plastic bag in the crisper unit in your refrigerator. Be sure that the bag is open or that you have poked air holes in it.

You can also store fresh herbs by placing them in a vase or glass with about once inch of water. Just before placing them be sure and cut off the ends. Change the water daily and keep them stored in the refrigerator.

Growing your own herbs at home has become a very popular past-time because many herbs are simple to grow and won’t challenge your green thumb.


The list of herbs below are simple to grow and add variety and delicious flavor to your meals: (some examples of uses follow).

Parsley: Great in soups, tomato sauces and used on vegetables. Parsley is a favorite and used in many dishes.

Tarragon: Perfect for dairy products like yogurt and sour cream, roasted chicken and beans.

Cilantro: This is a trendy herb that people either love or hate. If you love it, it’s perfect for all your Mexican and Thai dishes.

Mint: Great in beverages (they even make cocktails with it) salads and desserts. (Mint makes the cross-over from savory dishes to sweet dishes easy but not all herbs can do that).

Dill: Yummy on fish, cucumbers and cauliflower

Rosemary: Perfect for any chicken or veggie dish

Thyme: Veggies love thyme and it is also perfect for chicken dishes

Oregano: Great in pasta dishes and all kinds of sauces

Basil: Another great herb for pasta and sauces

Marjoram: Used for soups, stews and eggs

The obvious advantage of growing your own herbs at home is that you can easily snip them, clean them and add them to any favorite dish without having to make a trip to the store. When harvesting them yourself at home, it’s best if you pick your herbs early in the morning when the flavor is best and the herbs at their freshest.

Another advantage of growing herbs at home in your own indoor or outdoor herb garden is that it puts you complete control of how they are grown. You can be sure they are grown in organic soil and are pesticide free. Be sure to follow any instructions that come with your purchase because certain herbs grow best in certain soils and temperature conditions. Some herbs require more space than others to grow. Some require sun while others grow better in shade.

Whether your choice is dried herbs or fresh, they enhance food with delicious flavor while sparing your body any extra calories.

Nutrition plays a HUGE part in determining your overall health. It is often said that you cannot out-train a bad diet, and that is true. This is because when it comes to maintaining your body weight, what you EAT is more likely to affect whether you can attain your health and fitness ideals than what you do in the gym.

So for that reason I created “The Minimalist Exercise And Nutrition Program.”

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