Herbs History

Archaeologists believe that even primitive men, about 50 thousand years ago, already used herbs to flavor their meals. With  expansion of civilization the knowledge of herbs and seasonings spread, too. A flourishing spice trade appeared between the East and  mediterranian main cities , bringing pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and other spices to Europe. These spices were much desired and sold at high prices. In the middle ages it was a symbol of wealth to serve a well seasoned meal that was colorful and decorated with flowers.
In recent days an intensive exchange of trade and tourism contributes to spread knowledge of new spices all around the world.

What are Herbs?

Herbs are plants or parts of plants which - because of special substances - can be used as remedies or  seasoning. These substances can be essential oils, alkaloids, flavonoids, etc. Mainly essential oils are responsable for the flavors of herbs. They are ethereal, fragrant vegetable substances which can be found in roots (e.g. horseradish), leaves (e.g. basil), flowers (e.g. chamomile), barks (e.g. cinnamon) or skin (e.g. orange).
Usually there is a distinction between dried herbs and fresh herbs - the latter have much more taste and are preferred for cooking. While drying, a part of the essential oils evaporate, and as such diminishes their flavor.


How to use

Spicy herbs are most important for gourmet cooking. Used whole or chopped, herbs season many dishes.
Add fresh herbs in pots only after boiling, otherwise they can loose their flavor.
Use fresh herbs also as a garnish for food or drinks.
There exist many suggestions about which herbs are best suited to certain dishes, but such suggestions don't need to be followed. Everybody should make his own experiences in cooking and discover his particular taste - in other words: give recipes your own flair.



How to Store Herbs

The best way of storing herbs is keeping them under 39 F until 50 F, in sacks or in plastic pots. Herbs like Dill, Parsley, Chives, Borage, Chervil and Tarragon can also be frozen hole or cut, without affecting the flavor or the aspect. To pickle them with oil or vinegar is another option. In this case, the essential oils of  herbs passes over the liquid, giving an aroma for a long time. There are also pastes, that can be prepared with herbs and other seasoning mixed with oil and salt.


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