What makes herbs great?
Fresh herbs are glorious green essentials for enhancing the taste, appearance and smell of food and also have the ability to transform an ordinary dish into something extraordinary with just a few dashes. Herbs provide a delicate, yet delicious flavour as well as adding a subtle decoration to a drab dish; that's not to mention the number of health benefits packed into these leafy enliveners. Herbs generally contain large amounts of antioxidants to help fight against toxins and boast immunity levels. Researchers have found that herbs have higher antioxidant activity than fruit, vegetables and some spices. The highest ranking on the scale belongs to oregano, so Italian cuisine lovers can rejoice in their beloved herbaceous pizzas and pastas. One tablespoon of fresh oregano holds the same levels of antioxidants as an apple, so adding a dash to your meal can be a great source of anti-o's without having to eat anything extra. Also packing an antioxidant punch are dill, thyme, rosemary and peppermint. Turns out adding a bit of extra flavour to your supper isn't just enhancing the taste but adding a sprinkle of wellness into your diet too.
Photo credit: Wellness & Alternative Medicine
Advice from Herb-a-licious
The team at Herb-a-licious over at Langham Place started up their own organic garden with the intention of supporting sustainability and eco-friendliness, not to mention having their own supply of herbs and spices on hand to flavour their dishes and cocktails. They grow over 40 different types of herbs including Vietnamese coriander, rosemary, oregano and thyme in addition to core items such as bell peppers, aloe vera, mint lemongrass and basil.
We asked Herb-a-licious for their recommendations on which dishes go well with which herbs. Their advice: strong-flavoured herbs such as rosemary should go well with equally strong-flavoured food such as meat, chicken or lamb. Similarly speaking, lighter herbs complement lighter foods, parsley with white fish, for example. They believe that herbs should play the role of improving the dish with its subtle taste, but shouldn't overpower the natural flavour of the food.
Tip to grow your own herbs
Ever thought of growing your own herbs at home? Like with most plants, herbs must have strong sunlight to grow healthily, so try keeping your herb garden on a balcony or by a window that catches the sun so it absorbs maximum light. Another must is neutral and moist soil, which isn't high in acid or alkali. Good drainage is important too, so don't leave your potted herbs in a saucer of water and never keep your herbs under an air-conditioner or they'll dry up overnight. Remember to fertilise your herbs every two to three weeks to keep them fresh and ensure healthy growth. Now get growing!