Dried herbs and spices

While you may prefer the taste of herbs picked fresh from the garden, there is always a place for dried or frozen ones as well as for dried spices. In Greek cooking, for example, dried oregano (rigani) is used extensively in preference to fresh, while paprika, rather than fresh chilies, is an important ingredient in Hungarian food.

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This selection of herbs and spices that you can grow yourself or buy is a useful culinary starting point. (If you enjoy making herbal leas, add chamomile, dandelion and lemon verbena.l

Basil, bay. chilies. chives, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, lemongrass. lemon tree (it's an herb, loo), lovage. marjoram or oregano. mini. |«rsley. rosemary, sage, tarragon, ihyme and Vietnamese mini.

• Buy dried herbs and spices in small quantities to avoid waste, and store in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

• Ignore the use-by date on commercial products, as the dried herb or spice may deteriorate long before the given date. The best way to check for freshness is by smell, taste and appearance - for example, color fading is a good indicator of flavor loss.

• Whole spices, such as coriander and cumin seeds, retain their flavor and aroma longer than ground. Grind them in a spice grinder, or in a coffee-grinder kept specifically for the purpose, or use a mortar and pestle.

• Spices add color as well as flavor. Paprika adds a glorious red color, while saffron and turmeric transform a dish into a golden yellow.

COOKING 329

Continue reading here: Basil oil

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