Herb is to continental cooking or western cooking what spices are to Indian food or Indian cuisine. Herbs have been widely used in continental dishes since a very long time and they have the following role to play. They improve flavor & aroma to the dishes as they contain aromatic oil which gets released when the cell walls of the leaf cell break during cooking. Although they do not have much of nutritive value they do help in the process of dissation as they stimulate the release of gastric juices inside the stomach. In some dishes they help in imparting colour to the dish. They are used for decorating the dishes for this use of fresh herb are ideally suitable.
CLASSIFICATION OF HERB:
I. FRESH HERBS
II. DRIED HERBS
Ideally herb should be used as much as fresh possible but due to the availability in scares they may also be dried, packed and exported. Herbs can be grown in kitchen garden.
HARVESTING AND DRYING OF THE HERBS (method) –
· The shoots and leaves should be collected from the plant just before they bloom.
· They should be inspected to see, they are fresh and sound, then they are tied in small bundle and hung up to dry in a warm but not sunny place.
· After 24 hour paper bag should be tied over them to keep out dust and to help retain colour in their leaves.
· When sufficiently dry they should break up easily if rub between forefingers or thumb.
· The leaves have the middle vain removed & they are then passed.
· The sieved herb must be kept in air tight bottle or tins in order to conserve their flavor & aroma.
1. BASIL– It is a small leaf with a pungent flavor and sweet aroma. It is used raw or cooked. Tomatoes dishes, sauce or salads & lamb dishes.
2. BORAGE– This is a plant with furry leaves and blue flavor similar to cucumber when added to vegetable & salad.
3. CHERVIL – It is small neatly shaped leaves with the delicate aromatic flavor. It is best used fresh because of its neat shape. It is employed a great deal for decorating.
4. CHIVES – this is a bright green member of the onion family resembling a coarse grass. It is a delicate onion flavor. It is invaluable for flavoring salads, horsd`oeuvres, fish, poultry & meat dishes. It is used chopped as a garnish for soups & cooked veg. it should be used fresh.
5. DIL – It has a feathery green leaves & is used in fish recipes & pickle.
6. FENNEL – It has a feather green leaves & a slight aniseed flavor & is used for fish sauces, meat dish & salad.
7. LOVAGE – This leaf has strong celery like flavor used in soup, stew & salad.
8. MARJORAM – It’s a sweet herb which may be used fresh in salads pork, fish, poultry, cheese , egg and veg dishes & when dried can be used for flavoring soups, sauces, stews & certain stuffing.
9. OREGANO – This has a flavor & aroma similar to marjoram but stronger used in Italian & Greek style cooking.
10. PARSLEY – It is probably the most common & has numerous uses for flavoring garnishing and decorating a large variety of dishes. They may also be used for deep fried fish.
11. ROSEMARY – It has a strong fragrance which should be used sparingly. It is used for flavoring soups, stews, sausages, salads & stuffing. It can also be sprinkled on grills or roasts of meat, poultry, fish & potatoes.
12. SAGE – It has a strong, bitter, pungent flavor which aids the stomach to digest rich fatty matter & is used for stuffing for duck, goose and pork.
13. TARRAGON – It has a bright green attractive leaves. It is best used fresh particular when decorated chaudfroiddishes. It has a pleasant flavor and is used in bearnaise sauce.
14. THYME – It is popular herb with the sweet flavor used in both fresh & dried form for fresh juice & stews, stuffing and salad vegetables.
15. FINE HERBS – They are mixture of fresh herbs usually chervil, tarragon, parsley & it is used in classical french cuisine.