2011/03/21

herb week!




It's national herb week in Finland this week, so I though I'd post some photos, memories and thoughts of herbs. I've taken the photos over few last years.


herbflowers

herb

cakeherb1

Delicate herb shoots look great as cake decorations.

cakeherb2

herb pot

birch

Young birch shoots might taste interesting in salads.

basil

parsnip2

parsnip1

Parsnip soup decorated with red-veined dock and watercress.

spring

garlic

mixed herbs

herbsalad

Try using strong herbs as a salad base. Store-bough herbs are quite mild in taste, so even sage is great as salad main ingredient. Mix different tastes and textures to find out what you like the best.

nasturtium

Nasturtium flowers are very decorative in salads, especially double-flowered varieties. Try decorating a sandwich cake or sweet cake with the flowers. The whole plant is edible, so leafs can be used in salads or other dishes as well.

thyme

summer herbs

Herbs should be used more. Herbs are great. They're oozing different tastes and they're healthy. They look great on food, give unique taste and texture to dishes.

What would new potatoes be without dill, or pasta dishes without basil? Or salads and Thai-inspired food without coriander? Rosemary gives aroma to simple tomato sauce, lovage is amazing in broths. Thyme leaves are so beautiful on top of thin slices of pizza. Food would be boring without herbs, salads would be dull and watery. Not so long time ago herbs were used as medicine, not only as spices but as main ingredients, and instead of salt in foods.

It's great to see new, traditional herbs appear at grocery stores. Lovage for example, it's an old broth herb with strong peppery and aromatic scent, but it has just recently become commercially available.
For people with no opportunity to cultivate herbs on their own stores are the only source of these leafy wonders. I'd encourage stores to stock less of the same product, increasing variety. Herbs are best used fresh, and people buy only herbs that look pristine and frisk. It's unacceptable so much veggies and herbs go to waste before anyone even buys them! And it'd be refreshing to see new choices instead of the usual parsley, dill and basil. Some restaurants are already cultivating their greens in the city area, and urban cultivation is becoming sort of a trend, same as using wild herbs and vegetables.

I've been dreaming of garden lately; must be the summer coming. I'd grow rows filled with edible flowers and various different herbs. For now I have to settle for some pots on the window sill and growing mustard, watercress and sunflowers shoots (all great in salads). I'm planning to forage more next summer; a great number of wild plants are edible and delicious.

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