5 Traditional herbs for your French cuisine.

5 Traditional herbs for your French cuisine.

Herbs and spices can be the ingredient that upgrades your food from pleasant to sublime, that encourages guests to have a second helping and in some cases will even persuade people to experiment with flavours and ingredients they previously disliked.  Apart from adding flavour there are also health benefits from adding certain herbs to dishes or having them as a tea. Herbs are also a great choice for children to grow as most are pretty easy to grow, taste great and even flower. Before we go much further I should perhaps warn you there is a darker side to growing herbs. Although not often talked about growing your own herbs can become a little addictive. You may start to spend way too long poring over websites selling rare or unusual herb seeds. You may be 'popping' into the garden centre a little more often than before and then there are plant fairs when the dealers bring their most unusual cultivars for your perusal. The choice of herbs available is huge, and most herbs have their own cultivars or varieties. Mint and thyme both have lemon and orange varieties, but mint also has chocolate, pineapple,  apple and many more. 

 

Here are a small selection of herbs you will need for your French culinary endeavours.

 

Rosemary.

An evergreen Mediterranean plant with a bold flavour. It has needle like leaves in blue grey tones with green and beautiful small pale blue  flowers that appear in late spring through to early summer. Rosemary can be used in soups, breads and marinades. It is also used to flavour poultry, lamb and stews. 

 

 

Thyme

A hardy perennial herb with tiny dark green leaves and tiny mauve flowers. Another herb used with chicken, vegetables and fish. It can be used with sauces, stocks, broths, stews and marinades. A strong pungent herb like Rosemary,  with many uses.

 

Basil.

A tender annual plant in temperate climates but a short lived perennial in warmer climates. A fragrant herb that smells, tastes and looks amazing. It is no wonder it is used in the perfume industry.  Best added at the end of cooking or upon serving. It pairs fabulously with cream, tomatoes and pine nuts in pesto. It adds amazing fresh notes to soups, sauces and vegetables. I keep some on my kitchen window sill and am often caught adding it to salads, olives and pretty much most dishes. 

 

 Marjoram.

A tender perennial  herb with small green ovate hairy leaves and small white , pink or purple flowers. Often used with meat, but a great combination with vegetable and tomato dishes as well.

 

Parsley.

A very useful herb used in many countries around the world. A native biennial European herb with bright green leaves and umbels of tiny yellowish green flowers. This herb is great in sauces and with meat, fish and vegetables. A classic French ingredient in Bouillabaisse and Persillade sauce. 

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