THE WISDOM OF FLAVOUR
WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL AND DIVERSE WORLD OF HERBS
For thousands of years , Herbs have been in constant use, supposedly since the Stone Age, where it is said they were eaten in their vegetarian diet. In the late 20th Century, however, there has been a revival in the interest of Herbs . This renewed interest and awareness has not only been in the area of cooking, but also in the research of their other uses, particularly with their Health and Medicinal Properties.
Not only do these add nutritional value to your diet, but I found out through my research that these can also be useful as Simple Medicines, Naturl Non-Toxic Insecticides, Cosmetics, Crafts and in the use of Household Products, etc.
Herbs can be attractive and visually pleasant in most gardens and add a wonderful aromatic display with their large variety of leaf types, perfumes and colours, which also has the added value of making them very welcoming additions to anyones garden, especially when you use the Herbs that have natural Insecticide Properties . You don't have to have a formal garden in order to have a functional herb garden. When I started my first herb garden, I found that I could grow my herbs just about anywhere. It does not need to be separate from the rest of your garden, you just have to be careful of watching where you plant them that it is not too shady or there is not too much dampness. This is something I did not know, but I found out from experience. Once I had fixed the problem, my herb garden began to flourish into a garden that I could be very proud of. I even gave my neighbours advice for their gardens. You can also put herbs in any little nooks and crannies.
I have to be honest here, this was something I was very naive about until I read my books where I got a lot of my material from and it was very surprising to see just what could be grown with what.
Companion Planting I found, is a very popular way of gardening with your herbs when you use it to keep away the insects. Wow, I thought this was something I was having a problem with and it was good there was a natural way to deal with this problem with a Natural Insect Repellent System.
CATEGORIES OF HERBS
Herbs can generally be categorised into three main types:
- Culinary This is the most popular type of herb grown at present.
Examples of this kind are Mint, Parsley , Basil or Thyme
Herbs like these that I have mentioned here, can be added to your dishes for additional flavour.
- Aromatic herbs that are used in a variety of ways, would include Lavender, Sage
- and Chamolmile
Medicinal herbs can be either very popular herbs like Parsley, Mint, Rosemary or Basil, or lesser known herbs such St.John's Wort and Hyssop. Many herbs are added to creams and ointments which may be beneficial. Caution must betaken when using herbs as medicine internally and it is strongly suggested tht you check with your doctor before using. The use of herbs in Australia has been strongly influenced by our European heritage. Our early settlers were responsible for bringing cuttings wth them and at a later date the mgrants brought a demand or the importation of others, which to our good fortune, suited our condtions.
In Australia, there re an extraordinary number of edible or medicinally useful plants growing wild. Unfortunaely, ther is not the same wealth of knowledge about them as was built up about the European and Asian Herb through their many centuries of cultivation ad usage. But this is improving, with research being done and at last one company that grows, collects and markets native edible plants for flavouring, to exclusive restaurants.
Through my research, I have discovered that Parsley is one of the most well known herbs used in our homes today. It was also used many years ago by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and it was also known to be grown in the herb gardens of the Emperor Charlemagne in the eighth century. It was also well known and used in Medieval England and it was taken over to Americal with the first settlers. John Gerard in 1597 is quoted as saying:
"Parsley be also delightful to the taste and agreeable to the stomach."
There are many types of Parsley, I found that there are two that are the most commonly used types and these are the Curled Parsley (Petroselinum Crispum), which is characterised by an attractive, bright green, curled leaves, and the Italian Parsley (Petroselinum Crispum Neapolitanum) which has flat, serrated leaves.
Curled Parsleyis most commonly used as a garnish and does not have as much flavour as the Italian Parsley, which is considered the best one for cooking.
Italian Parsley is the easiest to grow, and grows to a height of about 45 cm, whereas the Curled Parsley .
THE USES OF PARSLEY IN OUR DAILY LIVES
Parsley is overflowing with goodness, as it is full of vitamins and minerals. It is rich in iron, Vitamins A and C, and alo contains Vitamin B, Sodium, Calcium and Magnesium. Parsley also helps to keep our digestive systems working well, and it is highly helpful with our kidneys. It is also valuable with people who have need of treatment for anaemia and can be used in the case of a general health tonic.
Parsley has also been used for a long time as a way for cleaning the blood from using the stem and leaves. It also is good for kidney and bladder problems. It also helps our digestion and is recommended as an appetite stimulant for people who are convalescing. If you munch on a piece of parsley, it is good for freshening up your breath. That is a little tip if you don't have time to clean your teeth if you are going out or have a meeting, just need to have some handy, it also works as a natural deodoriser as well.
I even have read that people who have arthritis can sometime get relief and have some reduction of their symptoms if they consume some parsley on a regular basis and a poultice of parsley will help reduce arthritis, blemishes and eve acne.It is also recommended that excessive amounts of parsley should be avoided when a woman is pregnant.
SOME FACTS ABOUT HERBS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Fresh Herbs have a better flavour than the ones that we buy dried that are sold in the shops. I have found that whole herbs and stay potent longer than if I ground them up. Even if you chop or crumble them you wont get the same time frame out of them either. You should always replace the herbs when the colour or the aroma seems to have faded or you think that there may be some sort of a change since the last time you used it. If in doubt about any of these facts, throw it out and buy some fresh herbs. It is better to do this, than to risk using something that could make you sick. Just imagine if you wanted to use Basil to make a beautiful pesto for a pasta dish for your husband's boss, because he wants to impress him. Now imagine, not checking the basil and seeing that it had gone off. You make your beautiful (or so you think) pesto for the pasta dish, the boss gets sick, not very good is it. Just a bit of humour there, but seriously, it could be very bad indeed.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR HERBS
Now this is what you need to know to avoid the herbs from spoiling. Always store your herbs in an airtight container or jar. Make sure that the container is stored away from heat and direct sunlight.
If you want to preserve your fresh herbs, you should dry out or freeze your herbs in either plastic or if you like in a jar with a screw-top lid. Always remove the leaves and, if necessary, you can chop them into smaller pieces or freeze them whole in small plastic bags. Always freeze in each container or jar, only the amount you would need to use at one time