Cooking with Herbs for Dummies


“An herb is a friend to physicians and the praise of cooks.” – Charlemagne

FRIEND TO PHYSICIANS: Herbs are healthy for you! So….cook with them.

1. CILANTRO – helps eliminate Mercury and Lead from tissues and bone (detox)
Holy BASIL (Tulsi) – Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral; protective to the liver.
OLIVE LEAF – broad spectrum antiviral; lowers blood pressure; lowers cholesterol.
THYME – bronchial antispasmodic & expectorant; helps diarrhea & gastrointestinal spasm.
OREGANO Oil – is a powerful anti-microbial agent that will destroy bacteria and parasites on contact. It also kills yeasts, molds and Candida overgrowth in our bodies (due to all those antibiotics we have taken. Used to help arthritis, bladder infections, colds, nail fungus, parasites, sinus infections, stomach ulcers, etc. Topically can be used on things like acne and rashes. Basically it helps clean your body and blood of bacteria and parasites. (from research on the web; just look it up for yourself; like

2. Books – Dr. Duke’s Essential Herbs, James A. Duke, Ph.D. (
Therapeutic Herb Manual by Ed Smith (


1. General Rules
When to add Herbs – delicate ones at end (basil, parsley, cilantro, dill)
less delicate last 20 min. (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
Amounts – 1 tsp. dried = 1 TBS. Fresh (or 3x as much)
When doubling a recipe, DON’T DOUBLE THE HERBS; do 1 1/2 times
How Long to Keep – 1 yr. for herbs or ground spices
2 yrs. for whole spices

2. Substituting Herbs (flavors and pungency)
“The Cooks Thesaurus”
Stevia – sweetest Herb in the world (from Asia and South America)
1 Cup Sugar = 1 tsp. Stevia (powder or liquid)
1 TBS. Sugar = 1/4 tsp. Stevia powder or 6-9 drops of liquid
1 tsp. Sugar = a pinch of Stevia powder (1/16 tsp) or 2-4 drops

Recently a more concentrated Stevia Extract has become available.
Found in the Food Supplement area of stores or by sweeteners-green box
Health benefits: Chemicals in Stevia cause blood vessels to widen for better blood flow; South American studies show it helps lower Blood sugar levels in diabetics and helps Insulin production; it delays absorption of sugars in the intestines; one 2 yr. study showed it is a calcium channel-blocker and lowers blood pressure.

3. Storing and Freezing
The Basil I grow I dry; take leaves off stems and store in a bottle.
Three Methods – Freezing in bags after washing and drying (in freezer wrap)
Ice Cube tray filled with chopped herbs and water; put cubes in zip lock
Slurry – freeze in ice cubes (blender-herbs and little water)

4. Recipes – What Herbs go with What Foods

In General: Oregano – Italian, Cilantro – Mexican, Ginger – Asian,
Marjoram – French

Carrots – Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, Dill
Corn – Parsley & spices like cumin, curry, and paprika
Green Beans – Dill, Thyme, Oregano, Tarragon, Lemon Grass
Potatoes – Chives, Dill, Parsley, Sage
Squash – Rosemary & Sage
Tomatoes – Basil, Bay Leaf, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Cilantro

Special Herbs to “spice up” your life! Herbs de Provence and Lavender

Herbs de Provence – a combination of herbs used in French cooking; can be found at special grocery stores like Whole Foods; however, it’s cheaper to make your own. Just Google it and you will find a lot of sites with recipes. It is mainly:
Marjoram, Thyme, Summer Savory, Basil, Rosemary, Fennel Seeds, Lavender buds (Bay Leaf and Sage may be added if you like); Great on Grilled Steaks, Lamb and Pork recipes and Bruschetta spreads.

Lavender is a member of the Mint family; used in savory dishes like stews, stocks, wild game, marinades AND in sweet dishes like cakes, cookies & fruit tarts. It has health value in that it is a mild sedative or nerve tonic and helps nausea, indigestion and motion sickness.
Great on roasted vegetables or grilled: zucchini, squash, carrots, Brussel sprouts

My Sister, Eugenia’s, special Herb Mix:
1 TBS. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. each of ground spices & herbs – Basil, Marjoram, Thyme,
Parsley, Savory, Mace, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, & Sage
This is great on baked potatoes rubbed on the skin with butter; in Meatloaf/Stews/soups/omelets etc.

COMBINATION BUTTERS: Basil & Garlic, Mint (for Lamb), lemon grass, lime zest & chervil or chives (great on roasted corn cobs)
DIPS: add Parsley, Mint, Dill, Cilantro to Sour Cream for a simple dip (salt & horseradish)
SALSAS: Black beans and corn with tomatoes, avocado, olives, cilantro and parsley, lime zest and Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil; salt & pepper to taste
BREADS: Herb breads are great (Basil, Marjoram, Lavender, Rosemary)
GLAZE or Marinades: like Citrus Glaze for fish or chicken – orange & lemon juice, garlic, Fresh Oregano leaves, olive oil, salt & pepper; OR try Tarragon, capers, olive oil over Shrimp you have grilled/sauted with lemon/garlic butter.

Enjoy cooking with a little extra flair; herbs are like icing on a cake.

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