Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fresh Herbs A Must

Herbs are essential ingredients for flavoring and spicing up recipes all over the world. Without them, eating would be pretty bland. Herbs add flavor, character, and uniqueness to recipes. Used alone or in combination, they help to make cooking fun and enjoyable, and eating a sheer joy! Read More: Gardener’s Network

If you wish this winter to grow them inside, check out DIY Herbs Indoors , Spice Up and Grow indoors , and Herbs with links and info
Great Ideas for making your own gifts for Christmas Herb Vinegars

Favorite spices
Here are a few of my favorite spices with their benefits:

Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce
Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce can increase metabolism and fat-burning ability by up to 25%.
Ginger speeds metabolic rate, plus it inhibits nausea and vomiting often caused by morning sickness or motion sickness.
Peppermint is used to treat gastric and digestive disorders, as well as tension and insomnia.
Mustard is a stimulant that can be used to relieve respiratory complaints.
Horseradish is a relative of the mustard family that acts as a digestive stimulant.
Cinnamon is often used as an antidote for diarrhea and stomach upset as well as a metabolism booster.
Allspice is an aromatic stimulant that helps to relieve indigestion and gas.
Regular consumption of garlic can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also aids digestion and prevents flatulence. Recent research shows garlic to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes.
Turmeric is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and therefore protects against cancer.

In conclusionUse these spices to spice up your health. Source: Health Benefits of Spices and Herbs

For centuries, herbs have been used for nourishing the body and soul. Here are uses that are common today:

1. Aromatherapy. Use essential oils derived from herbs and flowers to soothe aching muscles and lift your spirits.
2. Freshening bath. Mix lemon verbena or lavender with bath salts, place in a cloth sack and add to bathwater.
3. Room freshener. Hang a basket of lemon verbena and rub a leaf as you pass. Make a lavender potpourri.
4. Chamomile hair rinse. To add sheen, rinse hair with warm tea made from dried chamomile.
5. Fragrant soaps can be made with herbs, essential oils and emollients.
6. Dried arrangements can be made using golden oregano, lavender, thyme, yarrow and marjoram.

I have been growing, using and believing in herbs for a very long time. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have started buying fresh instead of growing them. Either way, it truly makes your food taste better and they are especially beneficial to your health. Most are so easy it is like growing weeds, perhaps you may want to give it a try! (smiling) For the ones living north in colder climates, they can be placed near a south window inside for as much sun as possible. The key is to pinch or cut frequently to prevent the plant from going to seed other than that, very little maintenance. I use garlic almost everyday and others on hand sweet basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, chives and a few others. The abundance of links to research is endless, for your type of cooking, to better your health, garnishes, or making gifts. What herbs fresh or dry do you use?
P.S. Once I bought unique bottles, twine, made labels and added olive oil to different herbs, actually it turned out to be quite nice. These days flavored olive oils can be expensive, but you can do it yourself and save probably half the price or less. I am considering making it this time with vinegar, besides the bottles look decorative as well....even if I keep some for myself. (smiling)

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