Using Fresh Herbs: ISU Extension Dietitian Shares Tips

By Rachel Wall, ISU Extension Dietitian

Gardens at Seed Savers Exchange's Heritage Farm near Decorah feature "heirloom" varieties of vegetables. A common love for unique and tasty varieties of vegetables, fruits, grains and herbs unites the 8,000 members of Seed Savers Exchange. Iowa native Diane Whealy and her husband, Kent, started the organization in 1975.

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By Ashley Hinson

Herbs are a great way to add flavor to dishes without adding much sodium or calories. Growing your own herbs can be inexpensive as well; you can often buy herb plants for as much as one bunch at the store. When using herbs, you want to purchase or pick them close to the time you plan to use them. If you grow your own herbs the best time to harvest is in the morning after the dew is off and the sprigs are fresh.
Ideas for using in cooking:
Basil: Tomatoes; in fresh pesto; pasta sauce, peas, zucchini
Mint (including spearmint and peppermint): Used with carrots, fruit salad, parsley, peas,
desserts, spring rolls, salad, sauces
Oregano: Tomato dishes, beef spaghetti, clams, soups, beans, eggplant, and mushrooms
Parsley: Salads, vegetables, pasta
Rosemary: Chicken, fish, lamb, pork, roasted potatoes, soups, stews, tomatoes
Storage tips:
· Fresh herbs can be stored in an open or perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator crisper drawer
· If you have more herbs than you can eat, put in bouquets either alone or as part of a flower bouquet
· Fresh herbs can also be dried and frozen
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