It is indisputable that aromatic plants are a very important ingredient in today’s cuisine. Its mission is to enhance and refine the flavor and aroma of our dishes, giving them a special touch, as is the case with spices.
Now, you have to know how to choose the aromatic plants and the amounts to incorporate each one; Remember that the goal is not to mask the taste of food. As it is difficult to know these aspects if you are not an expert, we have prepared a list of aromatic plants that you can use when cooking.
The 10 aromatic plants that you want to start using
There are many different types of aromatic plants, but they are mainly divided into fresh and dried or dehydrated.
Fresh is ideal for dishes that do not require a long cooking time, such as quick sauces, or raw dishes such as salads. If you want to add them to a barbecue or similar, it should be done at the end of cooking them so that they do not lose their flavor.
On the contrary, dry herbs or aromatic plants do need a minimum time of contact with heat so that they can release all the flavor and aroma that they concentrate inside. It is therefore advisable to add them when you start cooking so that they release the substance.
1: Basil. It is generally used fresh due to its delicacy, so it is added before serving so that it does not lose texture. We can also find it, although less frequently, in stews and sauces.
One of the most famous recipes with this herb is pesto sauce.
2: Coriander. Characterized by its strong flavor, it is one of the most widely used aromatic plants in the world. In addition, all of its parts can be used: the stem for the soup, the leaves for the sauces or as decoration … highly recommended!
3: Dill. Its flavor is sweet and with a slight anise touch that combines just as well with fish as with meat, as well as with lemon and vinegar. This aromatic plant should not be used in too large proportions because it is very powerful and would detract from the rest. of ingredients.
Among the best-known dishes with dill, we can highlight the marinated salmon, characteristic of Nordic cuisine.
4: Fennel. Like coriander, the whole plant can be used. The bulb is often used as a vegetable for stews, the chopped stems and leaves act as a flavoring agent, and the seeds, if left to dry, are ideal for spicing because they contain the essence of fennel.
5: Laurel. Bay leaves are very useful for preparing slow-cooker foods such as lentils, rice, stews, or stews. It is also used in the preparation of fish and shellfish, to flavor oils and vinegar, and in the pickling process.
6: Mint. Refreshing, somewhat spicy, and with a strong flavor, the mint produces a sensation of cold that stimulates the appetite. It is used, together with peppermint, in pastries and sweet dishes; However, we can also find it in salads, accompanying vegetables and meats, flavoring sauces or soups, and, of course, in the process of making ice cream and liqueurs.
7: Parsley. This is another of the aromatic plants most used in gastronomy because it goes well with practically any dish. In Latin countries, it is rare not to find a sauce with this ingredient, as is the case with the Venezuelan guasacaca, the Argentina chimichurri, or the Mexican guacamole. It can also be prepared as an infusion since it has the properties of helping good digestion, or simply added as a decorative element.
8: Rosemary. A regular in Mediterranean cuisine, ideal for preparing meats, roasts, stews, and sauces. This is due to the particular aroma with which it permeates these dishes, enhancing their flavor. The uses of rosemary are varied since it is also used as a medicinal plant and in the production of oils and infusions.
9: Thyme. Of this sweet and bitter herb in equal parts what is used, mainly, are its leaves. Its flavor fits well with meat, poultry, vegetables, stews. In Extremadura gastronomy, for example, it is a basic ingredient in marinades and stews.
10: Oregano. It has a very intense flavor and goes well with almost everything. Its most frequent use is as a flavoring for pizzas, rice, meat, fish, vegetables, etc. It is a typical herb in Italian gastronomy, essential when preparing focaccia and lasagna, as well as dishes with mozzarella- type cheeses.
Together with thyme, they are two of the aromatic plants that make up the Provencal herb mix.
Grow aromatic plants at home
Most of the aromatic plants mentioned are very easy to grow at homes, such as basil, coriander, mint, or parsley. This is because they do not require very specific conditions (although they do require minimal) so that they can grow healthy.
In general, the main problems that prevent the correct development of our aromatic plants are:
- The light
Although it is true that not all of them need, for example, the same amount of light, not all homes have terraces, balconies, or gardens. In addition, people who do not live in the field lack physical space to plant, so they have to resort to flowerpots, which does not benefit the plant either.
That is why in some cities, such as Madrid, the cultivation of aromatic plants on the roofs of buildings has begun to be promoted.
And is that the use of herbs of this type is not only a gastronomic issue, but also a health issue. They all have certain beneficial medicinal properties and adding them to our diet is imperative.
In short, there is no doubt that cooking is an art and that, using aromatic plants and spices, we make it twice as special.
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