Celebrating flavor each year on June 10th, National Herbs and Spices Day recognizes the diversity and quality offered by using both fresh and dried herbs and spices in your cooking.
All year long, herbs and spices are essential to cooking. But as the summer heats up, developing a knack for cooking with fresh herbs will bring brightness and flavor to your grilling and your kitchen. They not only add flavor to your meals but herbs and spices also add color bringing a vibrancy that might otherwise be missed.
Raising your own herbs can be a form of relaxing therapy, too. Herbs and spices have been used for many hundreds of years, and besides making our food delicious, each has its specific health benefits. Growing your own herbs and spices is a great way to add fresh variety to your food. Herbs raised in your home add an aromatic and natural fragrance to the air as well.
Herbs and spices add character to certain beverages, too. Mint, sage, chamomile, lavender, and many others add subtle flavor to hot and cold drinks.
Plant an herb garden and start using those herbs to create your own supply of herbs and spices. Some great plants to start with include dill, fennel, basil, sage, thyme, and cilantro.
Another way to participate in the celebration is by reviewing your stock of dried herbs and spices. Over time, their quality degrades. Be sure to store dried herbs and spices in a cool, dark area and in sealed containers. How do you know if your spice or herb has lost its punch? Your nose is your best friend here. Crush or rub some into the palm of your hand and take a sniff. If the fragrance is still pungent, then the quality is still there. However, if you only catch a dull, dusty smell, it’s probably time to replace the herb or spice.
If you’re new to using herbs and spices, review this list of 18 Must-Have Herbs and Spices to help you get started.
Do you have a favorite herb or spice? Let us know by using #HerbsAndSpicesDay to post on social media.