Nutrition, Movement, Spirit, Perspective

An Herbal Renaissance - Cooking with Herbs

We have been experiencing a whole new renaissance in our kitchen, as our meals have even more amazing flavor and vitality then ever before. The reason for this new awakening is due to the fact that we began experimenting with various combinations and amounts of such beautiful, fragrant herbs as basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Herbs have increased the beauty, the aroma and the flavor of each of our meals, especially enhancing our green salads, and with certain herbs, we have successfully added up to ten times the amount recommended in basic recipes. So this experimenting with herbs has led to having lots of fun in the kitchen creating new recipes, enhancing old recipes and enjoying the bursts of herbal flavors.

     For centuries, the great World Cuisines, such as Italian, Greek, Mexican and Thai, have enjoyed using generous amounts of herbs to enhance their dining experience. The greatest chefs in the world also know the value of cooking with herbs, as it turns each meal into a gourmet experience, taking the dish to a whole new level.

     I encourage you to begin experimenting with fresh and dried herbs in your own recipes and in the new dishes that you create. Some herbs are stronger then others so start small, adding more as you go along to your liking. We use fresh herbs when we can because they contain the most vitality and nutrition, but we do use dried herbs very often as well, as they are usually more available and convenient to use.

     We dry our own herbs either by using our dehydrator, hanging them or laying them out to dry. After they have dried, we put them in a coffee grinder, grinding them into a powder. Then we put them in herb jars for storing, and for easy sprinkling and for creating our own combinations of the various herbs. Rosemary powder is particularly wonderful to use in this way because Rosemary is a tougher herb to eat without drying and grinding first. Also, as Rosemary is such a strong herb, this technique allows for better measurement and for releasing the taste of the Rosemary into the meal.

     Not only do these wonderful herbs enhance the aroma, flavor and aesthetics of each meal, they also have been recognized throughout time for the great medicinal effects they have on the body. This medicinal effect is greatly due to the presence of Chlorophyll. The green hue of the leafy herbs is what is called Chlorophyll, and this is what allows for photosynthesis of the plant to take place. Chlorophyll has many healing attributes for the human body, and an amazing fact is that the Chlorophyll molecule is almost identical to our own red blood cells, which are called hemoglobin, with the only difference being that the center of the Chlorophyll molecule is Magnesium, whereas our human blood has Iron. Chlorophyll has been referred to as “the blood of plant life” and when we ingest this Chlorophyll, it goes into our bodies and goes to work cleaning and building our blood. Chlorophyll also renews our tissues, counteracts radiation, promotes healthful intestinal flora, improves liver function and activates enzymes to produce vitamins E, A and K. And those are only a small part of the ways that Chlorophyll helps to heal and regenerate our bodies.

     Growing your own herbs is a wonderful experience where you can have them readily available for freshness. Many herbs are perennial and grow fairly easy in temperate climates outside all year long. You can grow them in your own garden or in containers that can be outside in the warmer seasons and then moved indoors when winter comes. There are also wonderful indoor herb gardens that can be grown near a window.

     One of our favorite recipes that we have created during this experimentation with herbs is what we call “Veggie Herbal Blast Lasagna” and this recipe can be found here.  The beauty of this recipe is that within each layer of vegetable lasagna is a generous amount of a mixture of our herbs, so that each bite is a satisfying experience in and of itself.

     So I encourage you to begin your own experiment with the use of herbs, discovering what your favorite herbs are and the amounts that you prefer in each dish. Have fun with this and enjoy the new discoveries! LOVE

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