From Dr. Melissa Prest, Foundation Dietitian
August 29th is More Herbs, Less Salt Day, but we don’t need to save this mindset for just one day a year. Flavoring our food with more herbs, less salt is a healthy way to prepare our meals. Many chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, encourage people to swap the saltshaker for herb seasonings.
Herbs refer to the whole plant or a part of the plant used as seasoning. These can be used fresh or dried. You may also have heard of spices which refers to using a dried seed, bark, or root of the plant. For example, thyme used fresh or dry is an herb seasoning and dried mustard seed is considered a spice seasoning. Fun fact, pepper and mustard are the two most popular spices in the world.
Some things to keep in mind when using herbs:
Fresh herbs can provide a more balanced taste and you will likely need to use a little bit more of them than dried herbs.
Dried herbs are great and a little goes a long way, keep in mind that while they will last a long time their flavor will diminish over time.
You can preserve fresh herbs at home by either air drying, drying in the oven or microwave, and/or freezing them.
Have fun and experiment with different herb mixes and see what enhances the flavor of your food best.
Sometimes called Fines Herbes, this is a blend of sweet herbs tied up in a small cheesecloth bag to be used when cooking soups and stocks and then removed.
3 sprigs chervil
2 sprigs parsley
½ bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
Cheesecloth and string
Place ingredients on an accommodating square of cheesecloth. Bring all four corners together and tie with a string. Makes 1 bag.
1½ TBSP dried parsley flakes
1 TBSP celery flakes
1 bay leaf, crumbled
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp dried marjoram leaves
6 pieces cheesecloth, each 4 inch square and string
Combine all herbal ingredients. Lay each square of cheesecloth separately on table. Onto each square place a 2 rounded tsp of herb mix. Tie each square into bag as described above. Store in a tightly covered jar. Immerse 1 bag in soup or stock during the last 30 minutes of cooking. May also be put into a shaker for table use. Makes 6 bags.