Culinary Uses For Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs contain unique antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phytosterols and many other plant derived nutrients. We know that all of these plant compounds can have a range of benefits to our health.
In laboratory tests, essential oils in herbs are found to have an anti- inflammatory effects. They do this by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which mediates inflammatory cascade reaction.
This might mean that the enzyme-inhibiting effect of essential oils might have some benefit in some inflammatory conditions but more research is needed to confirm these effects.
Herbs can be surprising sources of many minerals. Parsley and oregano have lots of iron; thyme and rosemary have some calcium; and sage is rich in magnesium. But don’t rely on these alone for your nutrients! Although herbs have high levels of these nutrients per 100g we usually use quite small amounts in cooking. So add your herbs for their gorgeous flavours and as a delicious way to top up some of the minerals in your diet.
Storing Fresh Herbs
Wash and dry fresh herbs before storing in the fridge. For the harder stemmed herbs like rosemary and thyme I advise keeping them wrapped in damp kitchen paper in the fridge. For the softer herbs like parsley ,coriander and mint ,trim the bottom of the stems and put them into a tumbler or plastic cup half- filled with cold water and put the herbs in as you would a bunch of flowers into a vase. Cover them loosely with cling film or a freezer bag. Note you can put basil into water in the same way but do not store it in the fridge as it will turn black, leave it on the counter in the tumbler of water
Tip: change the water on the herbs every few days to keep for longer.