When it comes to cooking, nothing can make a dish sing like fresh ingredients. This extends from the meat, vegetables and grains to the spices and herbs used. Speaking of herbs, here are a few that are popular in a variety of cuisines. You might use some of them yourself.

Using Herbs

Many of us use dried herbs that we’ve bought from the store. There’s nothing wrong with that. They are convenient and cheaper than purchasing fresh ones. We add them to recipes, marinades, salads and dressings. To get the best taste from them, hold them in the palm of one hand and rub them back and forth with your other index finger. It can squeeze more flavors out of your dish.

Better than that and cheaper still, is to grow your own herbs. Pinching a leaf or seeds at the peak of potency provides a very different taste experience from dried. When are most herbs at their peak? It is when they are just about to bud. The flowers have not opened yet. This is the time to pick the leaves and enjoy them.

Seven Common Herbs for Cooking Recipes

Here are some of the most common herbs used for cooking. If you had an indoor herb garden, you could be picking a few yummy leaves right now.

  • Basil – The most common variety used is sweet basil. Pesto is made using basil. When tomatoes are present, don’t forget your basil, mozzarella cheese and olive oil.
  • Dill – You’ve heard of dill pickles, haven’t you? This is where they get their name. This fresh herb is often partnered other ingredients in vinaigrette dressings and mayonnaise-based dressings. It makes a great companion for fish and shellfish dishes.
  • Cilantro – This is commonly used for South-East Asian and Mexican cooking. All parts of the herb are useful.
  • Oregano – A favorite Mediterranean herb that we often associate with Italian cuisine. You’ll find it on pizza, in spaghetti and pasta sauces. It is one of the few herbs that taste best when it is dried. You can learn to grow and dry your own.
  • Mint – There are several varieties. It can be a stomach soother and a palette cleanser. Add a sprig of mint as a garnish on your plate for guests to nosh on between courses. Spearmint is a good choice for seasoning meats like lamb and drinks like ice tea and alcoholic beverages.
  • Rosemary – Seen almost as often as oregano in Mediterranean cuisine. Its many sprigs have a pungent pine odor that pairs well with pork, poultry, oils, sauces and pizza.
  • Thyme – This herb is paired with egg and vegetable dishes as well as meats like poultry, pork and fowl. It is often added in a mixture that contains oregano, rosemary, sage, parsley and savory.

Herbs can add more flavor than mixing in more salt. Discover a world of new gastronomic delight.