Friday, January 29, 2010

Fruitful Friday.... "Did You Remember the Herbs & Spices"

Don't forget that having a well-stocked pantry includes the Dried Herbs and Spices, having a stock of herbs and spices on hand will really help "spice" up your quick meals.
Here is a suggested list of the top ten Herbs & Spices that every pantry needs:

Kosher Salt -This coarse flake salt is use for gourmet cooking, brining, drying, marinating and as a finishing touch to your favorite dish.

Black Peppercorns - Whether tart or sweet, the full, fruity taste of berries mellows black pepper's mild heat and piney, citrus notes. Almost any kind of fresh berry can complement pepper's flavor. Choose a single type or mix and match different varieties to create an assortment of tasty combination.

Parsley - besides using fresh parsley as a garnish, mince it and sprinkle it on soups, pasta, grains, and potatoes. Parsley contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable,

Basil, - A common ingredient in tomato sauces, this intensely flavored herb also works well in salads, soups and vinaigrettes. 

Oregano - is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.

Rosemary - this aromatic herb complements the flavors of a variety of dishes, especially poultry and lamb. On the health front, evidence suggests that rosemary helps protect against cancer.

Thyme - is often used to flavor meats, soups and stews. It has a particular affinity to and is often used as a primary flavor with lamb, tomatoes and eggs.

Cloves -With their intense orange scent and piquant flavor, cloves nicely complement fall & harvest  vegetables such as pumpkin and squash. Cloves also spice up rice dishes and baked goods.

Cinnamon - the seasoning that’s as comforting as grandma’s apple pie, has been studied not only for its antioxidant capacity and antimicrobial effects but also for its role in insulin activity

Nutmeg - is a tasty addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.

These would be a great starting point. Unless you cook a lot, buy these items in the smallest quantity possible. Dried herbs and spices can lose their flavor and it is recommended that you should replace them after 6 months. You will wind up wasting money if you buy the jumbo size container of paprika, only use it once or twice and wind up throwing it away.

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