Basil, parsley, rosemary: herbs taste as different as they look. An overview of selected kitchen herbs and their use in the kitchen.
They have to be lush green and crispy fresh, then herbs taste best. In the kitchen, they give many dishes that decisive kick and they are the perfect addition to salads – rich in vitamins and essential oils. Many herbs are also available dried, but they don’t come close to the aroma of fresh goods.
Popular kitchen herbs and their uses
- Wild garlic: With its aroma, which is strongly reminiscent of garlic, wild garlic is ideal for the preparation of pesto or dips. If you want to use it for cooking, you should only add it at the end of the cooking time, as it quickly loses its aroma when heated.
- Basil: With tomatoes and mozzarella, basil is an absolute classic. It also goes well with other salads, pasta, pizza, or desserts. Basil should always be used raw and only added to warm dishes just before serving, otherwise, it loses its aroma.
- Dill: Dill is almost indispensable for cucumber salad and many fish dishes. The fresh, spicy note of the dill also goes very well with quark dips and potato dishes. If you have stomach or digestive problems, dill can have a calming effect.
- Coriander: The intense aroma of coriander gives Asian curries and soups their typical taste. Tomato salad, meat, or fish dishes also get a finer touch from coriander. In addition to the leaves, the stems can also be used.
- Cress: The spicy little cotyledons give salads, soups, egg dishes, and sandwiches a pleasant spiciness. They are also very suitable for garnishing dishes.
- Mint: From pineapple to chocolate mint, there are dozens of varieties of mint. The aromatic leaves are a popular ingredient for various cocktails such as Mojito or Hugo, and they also add a fresh touch to salads, soups, and desserts.
- Oregano: whether on pizza, in pasta sauce, or in pickled vegetables: oregano is typical for many dishes in Italian cuisine. It unfolds its aroma best when it has been dried and cooked. But it also refines many dishes fresh, such as stewed meat or soups.
- Parsley: Hardly any herb is used as often in German cuisine as parsley. It refines salads, soups, potato, vegetable, and meat dishes. In addition to varieties with curly leaves, the intensely tasting flat-leaf parsley is particularly popular in Mediterranean cuisine. It develops its aroma best when freshly chopped and added to the dishes at the end of preparation. By the way, parsley contains a lot of vitamin C and also tastes good in a salad or pesto.
- Rosemary: The Mediterranean herb is ideal for hearty meat, fish, and potato dishes. Either pluck the needles from the stalks and cut them into small pieces or eat the whole stalks and cook with them. Remove entire stalks before eating. As a tea, rosemary has a calming effect on the nerves as well as an antispasmodic and expectorant effect.
- Chives: The strong taste reminiscent of onions goes perfectly with quark and dips as well as egg dishes, salads, and mushroom dishes. It is best to simply cut into small tubes and sprinkle raw over the food.
Herb pots bred for early consumption
Fresh herbs are grown in large greenhouses all year round. In the food trade, they usually come with roots in small pots. But if you want to let the plants grow longer on the windowsill, you often fail. The herbs are intended for immediate consumption. In the greenhouse, they have ideal conditions, perfect temperatures, and optimal nutrients. The bestseller basil comes from subtropical regions and needs a lot of heat and sun. The apartment at home can hardly offer that.
Hardy plants for the garden
If you want to keep your herbs for longer, you should use local varieties such as parsley and chives, sow them yourself or buy more robust plants from the nursery. In summer, many herbs also thrive outdoors – whether in the garden or on the balcony.
Store fresh herbs properly
The season of the local kitchen herbs runs from April to the end of October. During this time, the herbs have the strongest taste and the most intense aroma. If you come from the region, the herbs are usually untreated and can be enjoyed without hesitation.
Even if the herbs taste best fresh, they can be stored for up to a week. It is best to place it in the refrigerator in a Tupperware container or plastic bag immediately after purchase.
Alternatives to fresh herbs
As an alternative to fresh herbs, dried and frozen herbs can be used in cooking:
- Robust herbs with a hard stem, such as rosemary or thyme, are particularly suitable for drying. Simply hang the bunch in a dry room, for example, the laundry floor, with the handle upwards, and let it dry.
- Freezing is the better method for soft herbs like parsley, coriander, or chives – chop them up and put them in the freezer.