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French recipes,  Health, beauty and more...

Aromatic Herbs to have in your kitchen

Parsley

Plants or aromatic herbs include all edible plants with fragrant foliage that can be used to flavour dishes.
Aromatic plants are part of the roots of my cooking. I use them in all my dishes. Unlike spices, which are mostly imported into France, aromatic plants are grown here. I grow most of the aromatic plants I use. It is a pleasure to simply open my door and pick what I need to cook.
Easy to grow, they grow well in pots as well as in the ground. They flavor our cooking and are full of health benefits.*


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Basil

An aromatic plant par excellence, basil smells like summer and sunshine. Its Latin name is « basilicum » which means « royal ». Basil is considered as the queen of aromatic herbs and has long been credited with magical properties.
Much associated with Mediterranean cuisine, basil is also widespread in Asia. We use it fresh, sprinkled on our dishes after cooking because it loses its flavor when heated. It can be used with almost everything: salads, raw and cooked vegetables, omelettes, meat, fish and many sauces. It goes perfectly with olive oil. The emblematic recipe of basil is
certainly the Genoese pesto. A real treat with pasta.
Basil has excellent digestive properties. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial. It is also recommended for sleep
disorders.



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Chives

The chive is a cousin of garlic, onion and shallot, with one difference: it does not form a bulb. It adds freshness to your dishes. Be careful not to cook it, as it does not tolerate heat.
Chives can be found in many dishes in French cuisine such as gribiche sauce or cervelle de canut. It goes perfectly with dishes based on fresh cheese, cream, eggs and potatoes. It also goes well with fish and raw meats such as tartar.
Chives contain many vitamins and minerals and are a good source of antioxidants.



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Tarragon

Originally from Asia, tarragon was introduced in Europe in the Middle Ages. Its aniseed flavour goes perfectly with seafood. We can also use it to flavour poultry, rabbit, lamb or eggs. It is the ingredient that gives all its flavour to the Bearnaise sauce. It is better to use it sparingly, its taste is very pronounced.
Long used as a remedy, tarragon is very good for digestion. It is a natural painkiller, particularly effective against muscular contractures and osteoarthritis. It seems that it is also effective against hiccups. Something to test!



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Bay Leaves

Laurel has long been considered a sign of high distinction. It is a symbol of immortality, probably because it does not lose its leaves in winter. Even today, it is a symbol of peace. The laurel is widely used in European cuisine, and particularly in France. Be careful to use the « laurel sauce » which is the only edible type of bay leaf. It is preferable to use dried leaves. It enters the composition of the bouquet garni which is used to flavour many dishes in sauces and simmered dishes such as veal stew, lentils, soups or tomato sauce.
Bay leaves are known to be an excellent antiseptic with digestive benefits and have stimulating properties for the body.



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Marjoram

Originally from Asia, it has been cultivated for centuries in France.
It is one of the famous herbs of Provence like thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, chervil, tarragon, lovage, savory, sage, bay leaf and fennel. With a milder flavor than oregano, it can be used both fresh and dried and is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine.
It can be used to flavour many sauces, such as tomato sauce, marinades, stews and fish. It goes very well with lemon.
Marjoram has antiseptic properties and is known to be relaxing and soothing.



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Mint

In drinks, savory or sweet dishes, mint is everywhere!
Mint is very abundant in temperate regions. There are over 25 different varieties of mint. Itcan be used fresh or dried. Be careful not to overdose because its taste is very strong. Very refreshing, add just a few leaves in a glass of cool water to quench your thirst in the middle of summer. It goes well with many dishes: omelettes, peas, zucchini, vinaigrette, quinoa, savory pies, lamb, fresh cheese…
It is also used a lot with desserts: fruit salads, strawberry soups, mousses…and chocolate.
A plant with a minty flavor called nepita grows in Corsica, and can only be found there. I sometimes use mint as an alternative for nepita, for example in my herb pie.
Mint has always been used as a remedy. Effective in cases of fatigue, it is also excellent for digestion and helps fight colds and coughs. We can also used it as an insecticide.



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Oregano

No plant better represents the Mediterranean than oregano. Its fragrance is typical of southern cooking. I use it all the time. I harvest it in the summer and dry it to have it all year round. Oregano is a symbol of peace, protection and love. So I put a pot of it outside my front door. In cooking, it is best used dried, which improves its texture and flavor. It goes very well with all tomato-based dishes (salads, sauces, pies, pizzas…). I also use it with olive oil based dishes, stuffings, grilled meat, summer vegetables and potatoes.
Oregano has many antiseptic properties. It is particularly effective against everything that affects the respiratory system. It is also an ideal tonic in case of stress and anxiety, and is known for its analgesic and analgesic properties.



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Parsley

Originally from the Mediterranean basin, parsley is the most widely used aromatic plant in France. Known since ancient times for its many health benefits, it is still listed in the French pharmacopoeia!
There are 2 main categories of parsley. Flat parsley and curly parsley. In cooking, we prefer flat parsley which has more taste and can be cooked. Curly parsley can be used with salads, raw vegetables and in decoration.
Parsley is fine and subtle, it can be used to season all savory dishes: marinades, sauces, stewed dishes, soups, meats, fish, eggs, vegetables … It can also be combined with all aromatic herbs.
I often prepare a « persillade » by combining it with garlic and olive oil to spice up any raw vegetable dish, meats, potatoes or even on a pizza.
The list of health benefits is long: diuretic, stimulating, antioxidant, digestive … parsley is also a source of iron, vitamins
and minerals. It has been used for a long time to have clean breath.



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Rosemary

Rosemary or « rose of the sailors » is typical of the Provencal and Italian cuisines. It has salty properties, so care must be taken with the seasoning. Rosemary gives a very high-quality honey with a strong perfume.
It goes well with both savory and sweet dishes. It is used in herbal tea, in dishes with sauce, stews, velvets, marinades and tomato-based dishes like ratatouille. We can also associate it with meats as with fishes. Be careful however its taste is very strong and therefore must be used sparingly.
In sweet dishes, it is used with the desserts containing fruits like apricot, fig, peach, lemon, nectarine…
Rosemary is excellent for digestion. It is also used for tiredness and temporary depression. It is a source of antioxidants, and relieves rheumatism and blood circulation disorders.



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Sage

Sage comes from the Latin “salvia” which means “to save” or “to heal”.
It is still considered a universal remedy in many cultures.
There are more than 900 different kinds of sage. For cooking we use sage officinale or lavender leaf sage.
Its flavor is strong, slightly bitter and camphorated. It goes very well with pork, poultry, game, veal and lamb. We can also use it to flavour eggs, potatoes, rice and risotto. It is very present in Italian cuisine, for example we use it to flavor focaccias, gnocchi with sage butter or saltimbocca.
Sage has many antioxidant and antiseptic properties.  It is excellent for digestion as well as for healing.



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Thyme

This is perhaps my favorite aromatic herb. It is an emblem of the Mediterranean and Southern cooking.
Legend has it that it comes from the tears of the beautiful Helen of Troy, Queen of Sparta. When she was kidnapped by Paris, her tears made this plant grow along the way. Thyme is used to flavour vegetable dishes (tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, peppers, squash…) as well as white meats, game and fish. It goes very well with cold cuts, olives, olive oil, red wine dishes and goat cheese.
There are several varieties of thyme such as lemon thyme, which goes well with seafood, poultry or cream-based sauces.
It can also be used with desserts, especially those made with summer fruits.
Among its many benefits, it can be noted that thyme is particularly effective in relieving respiratory and ENT pathologies. With its antiviral, antimicrobial and antiseptic virtues, it is the ideal natural remedy against the evils and viruses of the winter. Thyme is also used to relieve certain skin conditions.


*If you wish to use aromatic herbs for medicinal purpose, seek professional advice.

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