Culinary Herbs

Denyse Cummins, Frank, Isabella, Motsenbocker, Carl E.

Sustainable gardening for school and home gardens - Culinary Herbs.
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Herbs and spices are used in flavoring food and are an integral part of cooking. ‘Herbs’ are defined as the fresh or dried leaves of temperate plants. ‘Spices’ are generally derived from tropical plants and may be any other part of the plant, i.e., fruits, roots, bark, flowers, or seeds. Historically, herbs were gathered locally, and spices were sourced from far away and were rare and difficult to obtain.

The desire for spices drove European exploration, colonization, and conflict for thousands of years, until the establishment of spice plantations outside of the Far East Asia in the 1800’s ended the exclusive trade in spices. The discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus was actually a failed attempt to find a more direct route to India and the spice trade. Herbal history is just as old and fascinating. Herbs have been studied and used medicinally since the beginning of recorded culture, with the oldest texts dating back to China (2700 B.C.) and Sumeria (2500 B.C.). Plant chemicals form the basis of many modern medicines and there is new interest in investigating folk remedies for plant compounds that may be of use in developing new medical treatments. This publication addresses the culinary uses of herbs and spices.

Herbs are grown by gardeners for flavoring food, for fragrance, and for landscape interest. Various herbs also allow cooks to try, and for chefs to offer, other cuisines and foods. For example, French recipes rely upon thyme and tarragon, Italian upon oregano, garlic and parsley, and Asian upon the spices ginger, lemongrass and turmeric. Herbs also provide the signature flavor of American favorites like dill pickles and garlic bread. In particular, garlic and parsley are heavily used in Louisiana cooking. Culinary herbs are included in vegetable gardens and are just as important for flavoring food as the vegetables we grow throughout the year.

View the PDF to learn more about growing herbs, recommended culinary herbs for Louisiana, descriptions of herbs, when and how to plant, herb planting guide, organic and natural management for common insect pests and diseases of herbs, harvest and storage and recipes.

6/6/2024 9:21:20 PM
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