Herbs in Cooking. Must have Herbs & Spices in your kitchen
Commonly Used Herbs
"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
-George Bernard Shaw
Herbs in Coooking- Herbs and Spices are fundamental additions to virtually every cooking recipe known to man.
From my experience living in share houses, squats, wherever you could find a bed ! in both rich and poor abodes the herb and spice larder usually consisted of broken packets and old tins that have been there for years. Then you have empty containers mixed with the full ones . In order to have an efficient kitchen it is worth the little bit of time needed to sort the lot out and creating say 10 to 20 herbs and spices which are always on hand to spice up your cooking.
Herbs & Spice for your Kitchen- For as long as records have been kept herbs and Spices have been an integral part of the world's great cuisines. We take for granted black pepper and the other spices over which wars where once fought. At one time only kings and other wealthy people could afford such a delicacy as cinnamon. All supermarkets and most small grocery stores have well-stocked spice shelves offering a wonderful selection of herbs and spices.
The term "spices" is used broadly to include all seasonings. Spices come from the bark, roots, leaves, stems, buds, seeds, or fruit of aromatic plants and trees which usually grow only in tropical countries. Pepper, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, and turmeric are spices.
Herbs are soft, succulent plants which usually grow in the temperate zone. Until recently cooks have had to make do with very few fresh herbs, such as sage, parsley, and thyme. Nowadays you can also find fresh basil, coriander, chervil, tarragon, rosemary, and dill. Since herbs are at their best when they are young and freshly picked, it is well worth growing your own.
Pickling salt, Canning salt, coarse salt, Goes sell – fine grained without iodine or anti-caking preservatives.This is similar to table salt, but lacks the iodine and anti-caking additives that turn pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy. Pickles made with table salt would still be good to eat, but they wouldn't look as appetizing.
Pretzel salt– large grained, does not melt quickly.
Rock salt – large crystal salt with a gray color, due to minerals not removed from normal table salt. This in my view is the best salt to cook with.
Popcorn salt– very fine grained salt which is flakier version of table salt.
Iodized salt – contains a small amount of potassium iodide and dextrose as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease. (See Salt Composition and Medical Uses below).
Seasoned salt – table salt with herbs added like onion, hickory smoke or garlic
Herbs and spices are sold both whole and ground. It is preferable to buy whole spices and grind them yourself.
A tip is to shop in a busy store for your herbs and spices. Busy stores are more likely to move their inventory rapidly and thus have fresh herbs and spices. Buying high-quality spices from reputable mail-order companies. Don't buy herbs or spices that look faded or uneven in color. For whole spices, check that there is very little powder or broken bits in the container. For ground spices, the finer the grind, the better the quality. When buying spices and herbs from a large bulk bin, make sure there is plenty of aroma. Don't buy more than you can use with 6 months to 1 year.
Shelf Life & Storage of Herbs Herbs do not "go bad", they lose potency. Heat, light, and moisture damage the dried botanical. Proper storage for medicinal and culinary herbs requires glass containers, well-sealed, away from moisture, heat and light. Do not store herbs or spices in plastic, vinyl bags, aluminum or tin containers. Avoid keeping herbs near the stove, in the refrigerator or in the bathroom.
With proper storage, you can expect the following shelf life:
Whole, dried - 2 years
Cut, dried - 1 year
Powdered - 6 months
Herbs and Spices
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