Culinary Herbs For Dummies: A Guide On How To Use Fresh Herbs In Your Cooking (Part 2)

culinary herbs

by Femita

This is the second part in our series on culinary herbs. You will enjoy the first part as well!

Lovage
lovage herb

Lovage can exceed 6 feet in height and its beautiful leaves are dark green and shiny.

  • Flavor: Strong celery-like taste and smell.
  • Great with: Oven dishes, stews, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, pork, mutton, minced meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes.
  • How to use: You can add lovage to your dishes from the start as it can be heated. Use in moderation.

Lavender
lavender herb

Lavender belongs to the mint family. It’s a bush with narrow, purple flowers that can easily reach up to 3 feet.

  • Flavor: Very aromatic. The leaves are slightly bitter.
  • Great with: Cream sauce, honey, whipped cream, ice cream, pastry, jam, herb butter (in combination with savory).
  • How to use: Lavender may be cooked. Don’t use too much.

Marjoram
marjoram herb

A beautiful plant with oval, toothed leaves and white, red or purple flowers. This herb belongs to the mint family and has a very strong smell.

  • Flavor: Mildly sweet and spicy
  • Great with: Meat, tuna, trout, eel, mussels, peas, cauliflower, beans, tomato sauce, cream sauce, eggs, salads, pizza, pasta.
  • How to use: While it’s OK to heat dried marjoram, fresh marjoram shouldn’t be heated.

Mint
mint herb

Mint comes in several varieties, with peppermint being the most common and popular. Peppermint has green stems, leaves with purplish veins and purple flowers.

  • Flavor: Fresh aroma with a warm, spicy taste.
  • Great with: Lamb, lentil soup, cold soups, carrots, cabbage, fruit salads, yogurt, tea, ice cream, jam, chocolate.
  • How to use: Dried leaves can be cooked, fresh leaves cannot. Use sparingly.

Oregano
oregano herb

Oregano, also called wild marjoram, has larger leaves and flowers than ‘ordinary’ marjoram. Its leaves are dark green and oval, while the flowers are red.

  • Flavor: Oregano is more spicy than marjoram.
  • Great with: Vegetable sauces, tomato sauce, pizza, spaghetti, chicken, goose and pheasant.
  • How to use: Use very sparingly, because oregano can easily overpower a dish.

Parsley
parsley herb

This plant has long stems that can reach over 3 feet in height, light green leaves and yellowish flowers.

  • Flavor: Peppery and fresh. Flat leaf parsley has a more pronounced taste.
  • Great with: Potatoes, soup, eggs, tomatoes, fish, meat, cold dishes, salads, mayonnaise, herb butter.
  • How to use: While the stems can be cooked, the leaves should be added right before serving.

Rosemary
rosemary herb

Rosemary is a green bush with long, narrow leaves and white or lilac flowers. The top of the leaves is shiny, while the bottom is hairy.

  • Flavor: A sweet smell and strong, camphoric taste.
  • Great with: Meat, ragouts, meat marinades, fish, eggs, summer vegetables, mushrooms, cauliflower, Mediterranean dishes, jam.
  • How to use: A great herb to add to your roasts, but don’t exaggerate as it can be overwhelming.

Sage
sage herb

Sage is a strongly scented herb with grayish green stems. The oval leaves are green and wrinkly with a rough surface.

  • Flavor: This herb has a sharp, bitter taste and is a bit spicy.
  • Great with: Pork, veal, chicken, turkey, Mediterranean dishes, fish, meat marinades, cheese omelet, peas, beans, sprouts, carrots.
  • How to use: Sage is safe to heat, it won’t lose too much of its flavor. Again, don’t use too much.

Thyme
thyme herb

Thyme  has small, long leaves and pink, lilac or purple flowers.

  • Flavor: A sharp and bitter taste accompanied by a strong, spicy smell.
  • Great with: Meat, fat fish, poultry, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, ragouts, marinades and soup.
  • How to use: You can heat thyme without it losing its flavor, but use sparingly.

Sorrel

sorrel herb

Sorrel, sometimes called dock, is a herbaceous plant that’s around 1.6 feet in height and has green leaves with dark red to purple veins.

  • Flavor: Fresh and sourish taste
  • Great with: Eel, soups, sauces, omelets, salads.
  • How to use: In moderation.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana Zia September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm

This is an excellent resource! Thank you! I’m going to put this link in my next blog post about fresh herbs.

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Femita September 3, 2010 at 6:40 am

Thanks, Dana. Love your blog too. That passion fruit bars you made for your husband look delicious. Can’t wait to try them!

Alison

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