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Fresh herbs bring variety to the kitchen

Herbs put the finishing touches to meals. However, their aroma can only be fully appreciated if they are added at the right time.

Straightforward herbs and spices

Most herbs and spices are straightforward. They can tolerate high temperatures and can be added to the cooking pot right from the start. These include curry, fennel, turmeric, allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon and caraway. If you like a more intense flavour, anise, black cumin and mustard seeds can be roasted before being used.

Measure carefully

Herbs with hardy leaves, such as tarragon, oregano and thyme, will reveal an even more intense taste with cooking. To make a “bouquet garni”, sprigs of herbs are tied together to make a bundle, cooked in the dish and removed before serving. Chilli flakes increase in spiciness over time so these should be measured out carefully. Paprika powder, on the other hand, reacts to too much heat to produce a bitter after-taste.

More sensitive herbs

Delicate herbs such as basil, marjoram and wild garlic do not tolerate long cooking. They should be added just a few minutes before the end so that they don’t lose their flavour. This also applies to ginger, saffron and cayenne pepper. Some herbs such as chervil, dill and chives are so sensitive that they should not be heated at all. Instead, they should be chopped carefully and sprinkled over the dish shortly before serving. Nutmeg and pepper are also delicate. Ground spices are generally only added to the food at the end.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.bzfe.de