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Using Flavorings from Plants, Herbs, and Spices

With literally thousands of flavorings that come from plants, herbs, and spices, you can create mouth-watering food that has exceptional taste.  This means you no longer have to eat bland food but can enhance it with natural ingredients.  Because there are so many choices, the possibilities of what you can create are endless.  We wanted to provide you with some great options for each of these three categories, showing you options that are affordable, easy to find, and with unmatched flavor.

Remember, while some rules follow ethnic cuisine, there is nothing to say that you cannot mix and match your own creations.  If you love spending time in the kitchen, you might use various plants, herbs, and spices to come up with your own, signature dish.  With so many choices, you might just surprise yourself, coming up with a meal that the entire family enjoys.

Now, when we say “plants”, we are referencing various types of fruits and vegetables, anything that is produced on a plant, or the actual plant itself.  As you can imagine, this covers tremendous territory when it comes to food flavoring.  The following are just a few plant options to consider when wanting to season foods.

• Citrus – Lemons, Oranges, Limes
• Pineapple
• Mushrooms
• Edible Flowers
• Asparagus
• Potatoes
• Ginger
• Lemon Grass
• Coconut
Herbs and Spices
Of all food flavorings, herbs are one of the most popular.  Typically, herbs can be purchased fresh or in dried form, with both options working well.  Again, the possibilities when it comes to seasoning food with herbs are unbelievable.

• Basil – The stems and leaves are used, which is a great flavoring for beef, fish, chicken, vegetables, and soups
• Coriander – This herb has a unique flavor resembling sage and orange peel
• Cilantro – To make cilantro, the fresh leaves of coriander are used
• Curry Powder – This herb is the result of using coriander seed
• Dill – Everything associated with the dill plant can be used to include the stem, seeds, and leaves.  Great for meats, breads, and desserts, dill has a distinct flavor.
• Marjoram – The leaves of this herb are sweet, making it a favorite choice for vegetables, eggs, soups, stews, meat, and fish.
• Mint – This fresh, aromatic herb is often used when making desserts, meats, salads, vegetables, soups, and even salad dressing.
• Oregano – The flavor of oregano is sharp, making it the perfect choice for Italian or Mexican foods.
• Parsley – With a peppery type flavor, parsley is often used as a garnish although it also makes a great flavoring for traditional and Italian dishes.
• Rosemary – Perfect for creating sauces or stuffing, as well as seasoning meat, fish, and vegetables, the pungent herb goes a long way in flavoring.
• Sage – This musky flavor is quite strong but perfect for veal, poultry, pork, lamb, and game dishes.
• Savory – Another herb with a peppery flavor, most people use savory for enhancing the flavor of lamb, veal, seafood, chicken, and even boiled meats.  Other benefits to using savory are in the flavor it adds to soups, stews, and gravies.
• Tarragon – This herb is quite interesting with an anise flavor.  With this, tarragon creates wonderful flavors in veal, seafood, lamb and poultry although it is also great for vegetables and sauces.
• Thyme – With a pungent taste, thyme adds strong flavor to bread, soups, vegetables, meats, and seafood.

Remember, you can use dried herbs for many things such as rubs, sauces, and marinades since the flavor develops over time.  For that reason, most marinades and sauces are made using the appropriate herb and then allowed to sit over night before being used to soak meat.

Keep in mind that spices are often used in ethnic foods, giving dishes a robust, complex, and unique flavor.  For this reason, we have provided you with some spice combinations specific to ethnic foods.

• Italian – Common spices used include parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, and of course, garlic!  Perfect for meat and vegetables, these spices give Italian its wonderful flavors.

• Thai – The flavors of Thai food are incredible.  Spices used for this type of cuisine include curry, basil, cilantro and mint.

• Chinese – Most people love the flavors associated with Chinese.  To create these flavors, spices such as ginger, garlic, chili, and peppercorn are used.

• French – Considered romantic food, French cuisine is created with wonderful spices that include thyme, parsley, chives, marjoram, tarragon, rosemary, mint, and chervil.

• Middle Eastern – Although for many people, Middle Eastern food is an acquired taste, it is addicting.  Some of the more popular spices used are cilantro, garlic, mint, rosemary, parsley, and curry.
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