I love to use fresh herbs in my cooking because it adds a depth of flavour and a freshness that you just don't get from using dried herbs.
Here are two of my favourite fresh herbs -- their nutritional benefits, how to use and store them, and some Smart tricks!
Herb #1: Basil
Key Nutritional Benefits of Fresh Basil
- It boosts the immune system by fighting bacteria.
- It is anti-inflammatory
- Excellent for combating constipation, indigestion and stomach cramps
- Dried basil and other herbs very high in calcium.
Favourite food combinations
- Olive oil and garlic
- Strawberries and black pepper
- Coconut milk
- Dark leafy greens
What to Look For
When buying fresh basil look for leaves that are free from any discolouration.
How to Store
The best way to store fresh basil is to remove it from the package and fill a glass with water and trim the bottoms of the plant and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
Money Saving Smart Tip
Another option is to buy a basil plant! They are typically about $2.99 at your grocery store and when you consider that a bunch of fresh basil is the same price, why not buy the whole plant? This way you can have fresh basil on hand at any time. I have a planter in my house (winter and summer) that is a pot of fresh herbs. I buy four plants (basil, parsley, cilantro and mint) and keep it year round! For $12 I have fresh herbs all year!
Often when we buy fresh herbs, we only need a little bit. What I like to do with my leftovers is this: Take an ice cube tray and chop your fresh herbs up and combine them with olive oil and freeze. This way you have fresh herbs on hand anytime and can just pop in the herb cube for stir fries, soups or broths.
If I am feeling slothful and don't want to take the time to do even that, I will take the whole bunch of fresh herbs, put it in a Ziplock bag and freeze it. I will then add this frozen bunch of goodness to my soup broth and let it simmer!
- 1 cup of fresh basil
- ½ cup baby spinach
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
- ½ teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper
- 4 fresh garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all of the above in a food processor and serve on fresh gluten free pasta or zucchini noodles!
Herb #2: Cilantro
Key Nutritional Benefits of Fresh Cilantro
- Antibacterial effect against salmonella
- Assists digestion
- High in antioxidants
- Assists in heavy metal detoxification
- Shown to reduce anxiety
Favourite Food Combinations
- Black beans
- Mexican dishes
- Avocado and lime
What to Look For?
When buying fresh cilantro look for leaves that are free from any discoloration or wilting.
How to Store?
The best way to store fresh cilantro is to remove it from the bag/container and wash very well. After washing cilantro, spread it out on a paper towel and roll up and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Money Saving Smart Tip
Another option is to buy a cilantro plant! They are typically about $2.99 at your grocery store and considering that a bunch of fresh cilantro can sell for close to the same price, why not buy a plant? It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Time Saving Trick
See above (basil). You can do the same thing with fresh cilantro.
Sweet and Spicy Mango Salsa! You can find the recipe on my website.
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