Fun Facts about Herbs
Fun facts about herbs; tarragon, dill, basil, rosemary, cilantro, mint and how to best store them.
- FUN FACTS ABOUT:
Now that we are well into summer and gardens are in full bloom, it’s time to take advantage of all the fresh produce summer has to offer. Fresh herbs are some of the easiest and most versatile produce to cook with, and your gardens, farmers’ markets, and grocery stores should be full of them. Here, we wanted to share some fun facts with you about these fragrant plants.
Tarragon is paired best with salads, egg dishes, chicken, and fish. In fact, there are few herbs that improve the flavor of fish as well as tarragon does. It is a staple in French cuisine, and French tarragon is actually a member of the daisy family.
In ancient Greek and Roman cultures, dill was considered a sign of wealth and was revered for its many healing properties. Ancient soldiers would apply burned dill seeds to their wounds to promote healing. Appropriately enough, the name dill comes from the Old English word dilla, meaning “to lull,” because it has been used to soothe stomach pain and other ailments.
There are various kinds of basil, and each variety has a different scent. This is because the herb has a number of essential oils that come together in different proportions for various breeds. The most common basil scents are lemon, clove, camphor, and licorice.
Rosemary was considered “the herb of memory” in Ancient times as the leaves were thought to quicken the mind and prevent forgetfulness. In the English Tudor era, though, rosemary was a symbol of happiness, love, and fidelity. Brides would wear rosemary at their weddings or present a sprig of it to the groom.
Ever wondered why people either love or hate cilantro? Many like its pungent and fresh flavor, but there are a number of people who claim a strong aversion to the herb saying it tastes “soapy” or like crushed bugs. Scientists believe the preference is determined by genetics, as many people of European descent don’t like it, while those from Latin America and Southeast Asia use it frequently.
Mint gets its name from the ancient Greek mythical character Minthe, a river nymph. Hades, the God of the Underworld, fell in love with Minthe, but when Persephone, Hades’s wife, found out, she turned Minthe into a plant so that everyone would walk all over her and crush her. Unable to undo the spell, Hades gave Minthe a magnificent aroma so that he could smell her and be near her when people trod on her. If you plan to grow mint, the most common variety is spearmint.
Store your fresh herbs:
Many of these herbs can be easily frozen either by the sprig in plastic bags, after blanching, or in olive oil. Make pre-made herb add-ins by freezing chopped herbs in olive oil in an ice cube tray. When you’re making a sauce or sautéing foods, just pop a cube out, toss it in the pan, and voilà! You’ll have the taste of fresh herbs even in the winter after they’re gone.