The Green Scene March 2013

Herb:  Do Yourself – a Flavor Workshop Planned 

herbsFor the last of our cooking school series, an Herb Workshop will be offered on April 11th at 6 p.m. at the Extension Office.  Trevor Hylton, Wakulla/Leon FAMU Horticulture Agent will lead the workshop section that will involve information on how to successfully grow herbs in containers or areas outside.  I will offer a sample buffet featuring dishes which depend on added herbs for their outstanding flavor.  The workshop will be hands-on so there is limited enrollment. You will leave the workshop with a variety of potted herbs.  Call the Wakulla County Extension office TODAY to insure that you have a place reserved.  There is a $15.00 registration fee to attend.

Speaking of Herbs……
The use of herbs in cooking dates back thousands of years.  During that time, it was thought that herbs and spices had properties that were beneficial to human health, but it was not until recent years that scientists established just how good herbs are for one’s health.  Early settlers brought herbs to the new world to use as remedies for illnesses, to store with linens, and to mask the bland flavors or spoiling of food.  Colonists introduced each other to the herb gardening style known as “kitchen gardens,” which involved growing herbs in gardens just outside the kitchen door for convenience and safety.  
  

Herbs are the leaves of temperate climate plants; temperate climates have summers and winters of similar length.  Examples of herbs include basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, and oregano.  Today, herbs often are used in cooking to enhance the flavor of food without the addition of extra fat, sugar and sodium.  This should be especially important to those who are trying to curb their need for salt as a flavoring agent.  Salt has been proven to be linked to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack for many. 

Flavor is an important component of the enjoyment of any food. A famous gourmet once said, “Flavor is the soul of food:  and herb, seasonings and spices are the soul of flavor.”

Remember you can substitute different forms of herbs in recipes.  When substituting fresh herbs, 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) is equal to 1 teaspoon dried crushed herbs.  One teaspoon of a dried, crushed herb is equal to ¼ teaspoon powdered herbs.  The flavor of powdered spices and herbs is released immediately, so they can be added about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking period.  Timing is especially important in long-cooking foods so that flavor will not be changed by prolonged heating.  Whole spices are best in long-cooking dishes.  Add at the beginning of the cooking period so that long simmering can extract the full taste and aroma.  Tie the whole spices in a cheesecloth bag for easy removal.

Perhaps you would like to follow up by securing the UF/IFAS EDIS Publication entitled, “Cooking with Fresh Herbs”, FCS8932.  It is filled with great information that I believe you will find helpful.  I do hope that you will consider attending the Herb Workshop.  Call today to enroll (850-926-3931)!!!

 

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