Healthy food doesn’t need much to flavor its fresh taste, but when it does head to your herb garden before your reach for the salt, sugar or heavy sauces. 

One way to flavor your food is to reach for tasty, extras like vinegar, spices, citrus and our favorite, herbs.

  • Vinegars: These sour-tinged liquids are available in a variety of different flavors and are perfect to add balance to sauces, dressings, and marinades.
  • Spices: From warm and aromatic to savory, and robust, spices bring the zing to any dish.
  • Citrus: No need to add salt when you squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice in your dish.
  • Herbs: Cooking with fresh herbs isn’t just for gourmet chefs. Pair the right herb with the right food and your family will marvel at your culinary skills. And, as an extra bonus, you’ll be feeding their health as much as you’re feeding their appetite.

Get to know your herbs personally with these tips and ideas:

  • Parsley – While it’s available fresh year round you can use it for everything from soups to eggs. To get the most from its flavor don’t mince it, leave it in bigger pieces to get the most flavor. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps keeps bones strong.
  • Ginger – A unique flavor all on its own is both sweet and spicy and is a perfect combination with fish, chicken, and pork. Combine it with garlic for double the flavor. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory compounds that may bring relief to those with arthritis.
  • Basil – A favorite herb to most professional chefs is It is an excellent addition to anything tomato based or added to sauteed vegetables. While it has the best flavor raw such as in pestos, it can be added to a dish at the end of its cooking time, so it doesn’t lose its flavor. Basil contains flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage.
  • Rosemary – It’s woodsy flavor works well in pasta sauces or grilled meat. Sautee a few springs with olive oil and garlic to bring out its authentic flavor. Rosemary is an excellent herb to stimulate healthy digestion.
  • Cilantro – You either love or hate this pungent herb. Used mostly in Mexican and Asian-inspired dishes it can easily overpower a dish so use it sparingly. Cilantro has been found to fight salmonella germs.
  • Mint – One of the easiest herbs to grow adds a fresh taste to any chilled grain dish like couscous or quinoa salad. It also can be made into a mint iced or hot tea.  Mint is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Getting to know how to use fresh herbs is a perfect way of adding a delicious, healthy depth of flavor to your cooking.

Edna Cox Rice, Founder of Carolina Nutrition Consultants, is a well-known Nutrition and Fitness Expert in Lexington, SC. Edna shares reliable and practical advice on how to incorporate healthier food and smarter lifestyle choices for a healthier YOU. 

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