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Posts Tagged ‘cooking with basil’

June 10th is the National observance honoring Herbs and Spices. Have you been told you should reduce the sodium in your diet? If so, check out this blog for suggestions for pairing herbs and spices with common foods.

Basil Herb Bowl

Basil Herb Bowl

Are you new to growing or using herbs? Start with a plant or two (or seeds) that you plan to use and grow your herb garden from there. Basil, Oregano, Cilantro, Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme & Sage are all relatively easy to grow. You can combine several plants into one pot for your own kitchen herb pot.

Basil is a very easy and versatile herb. There are several varieties of this herb. This easy-to-grow herb makes a beautiful planter – just place several varieties in a flowerpot to make a basil herb bowl.

 Not sure which spices to use? Check out this fact sheet from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Plan to use more fresh herbs in your recipe if you are substituting for dry herbs. This Ohio State University Extension fact sheet describes common herb/food pairings. Remember to add herbs at the end of the cooking as some of the flavor is lost with excess cooking.

New to seasoning with herbs? Start small to make sure you like the flavor before adding too much.

Here are a few pairings to get you started:

Basil                    Tomatoes and tomato dishes, vinegar, rice, eggs, meats, duck, salads, &  vegetables.

Oregano              Italian tomato sauces, barbecue sauce, soups, eggs, cheese, pork, vegetables & salad dressings.

Rosemary           Chicken, lamb, pork, vegetables, chowders & cheese.

Have you always wanted to make your own pesto? Watch this short YouTube video featuring OSU Extension Educator, Shari Gallup.  You will see how easy it is to make pesto from fresh basil.

Get fancy – the easy way! Cut Basil Chiffonade and add as a garnish to pasta, pizza, or salad. This is a chopping technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and basil) are cut into long, thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then slicing the leaves perpendicular to the roll.

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What herbs will you plant this summer? Send a comment to me and share what you planted.

Source: [OSU Extension], Gallup, S. (2014, June 9) Simple Pesto using Herbs from the Garden [Video File]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/p0Zc8ye7V1o

Written by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed,  Ohio State University Extension, barber-spires.1@osu.edu

 

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Basil Herb Bowl

Basil Herb Bowl

My herb pots are growing and I need to harvest some of them. All of the rain we’ve had this summer in Ohio has made them lush and ready to pick. I’ve enjoyed substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs in many dishes this summer. Let’s talk about a couple of dishes we’ve enjoyed this summer. Not sure about which herbs to use with which foods? This Ohio State University Fact Sheet will give you some great suggestions for selecting, storing and using fresh herbs.

Have you tried a Caprese sandwich with fresh basil? If not, try one for a yummy treat.

How about a dish of caramelized onions, summer squash and garlic? Stir fry these vegetables and add fresh basil or oregano. If you have zucchini, slice it and add it to your recipe. Try this version from USDA for summer squash medley.

This year I made a version of Mala String Beans with fresh green beans. Cook your green beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Once they are blanched, you can store them in the refrigerator for 3 days. To make your Mala String Beans, caramelize onions and garlic (be generous with garlic) in a small amount of olive oil. Add your blanched green beans and stir fry. Add a small amount of sesame oil and low sodium soy sauce. Enjoy. Using fresh onions from my garden made this dish extra tasty.

Back to my herbs. . . I want to have the taste of fresh herbs after they’ve dried up and there’s snow on the ground so I decided to freeze some of my herbs so that I can enjoy them this winter.

Here’s my pictorial of picking and freezing herbs:

Basil just picked, washed and drying on paper towel.

Fresh Picked Basil

Fresh Picked Basil

Chopping fresh basil with specialty sheers. You can also chop with a knife.

Chopping Fresh Herbs

Chopping Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs in a tray ready to be frozen. You can use an ice cube tray or a special herb tray with a lid.

Fresh Herbs in Tray

Fresh Herbs in Tray

Frozen herbs on a plate before placing in airtight freezer container.

Frozen Herbs

Frozen Herbs

Frozen herb cubes in airtight container to be stored in freezer.

Frozen Herbs

Frozen Herbs

I found out that it is relatively easy to freeze herbs. I picked my herbs and lightly rinsed them. Lightly dry them on a clean towel or paper towel. Chop them with a knife or special herb chopping scissors. Freeze in ice cube trays or in special herb freezing trays. Fill the trays with about 2 Tablespoons of herbs and water. Freeze overnight. Pop out the cubes and place in airtight containers. I would recommend storing your herbs in separate containers so the flavors don’t mix. I have basil and rosemary frozen in my freezer waiting for my next creation.

What will you create with fresh herbs?

Writer: Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, OSU Extension Northwest Region Office, spires.53@osu.edu

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