This spinach-like, tart herb is now in season. Pick up a bunch and get cooking!
Although commonly defined as an herb, sorrel is part of the buckwheat family. It was used by the Greeks and Romans to help digestion. It was also wrapped around meat to help tenderize it. During the Middle Ages, before citrus fruit was brought to Europe, folks used this green herb to add a sour punch to dishes. Once citrus fruit reached Europe, poor sorrel was cast aside. Only recently has this citrus-flavored herb been gaining popularity.
Its tart flavor and tenderizing capabilities come from a compound called oxalic acid, which can also be found in spinach and black tea.
Your best bet is checking your local farmer’s market for sorrel starting in mid-May. Its leaves can either be shaped like a shield or rounded. The color can range from pale to dark green and range from 2 to 12-inches in length. Keep your eyes peeled though, sometimes the young leaves are tossed together with the salad greens. As the herb ages, the acidic flavor becomes stronger.
Varieties also vary in sourness with Garden and Belleville being the strongest flavored, while Dock sorrel is one of the mildest varieties.
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- Want to grow your own?
The right herb can really make a recipe. Whether it brings brightness to a beverage or spice to a saute, herbs are invaluable, flavorful, add-ins when it comes to healthy cooking. With the warm months upon us, growing your own herbs is a great idea. Not only is it a low-cost hobby (which can save you money on high-cost ingredients), but also brings the season’s freshest flavors right to your windowsill.
But how does a novice grower begin? There are so many things to consider—what to grow, how much light, water, and soil, which pots and plant food.
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- Fresh herbs, even in winter.
Do you have someone one your holiday gift list who loves to cook with fresh herbs? Give the gift of flavor this year – and the magic of a guaranteed green thumb – with the AeroGarden. I received this three years ago as a gift and cannot believe how effortlessly I’m able to grow fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, or even flowers year-round. My AeroGarden sprouts fresh herbs so rapidly, I oftentimes find myself giving sprigs of thyme and dill to neighbors and family members. This, coming from someone who can’t keep a houseplant alive for more than a week (no exaggeration)!
I love having fresh basil, dill, thyme, and sage, growing right in my apartment ready to be plucked and added to recipes for a kick of flavor and a punch of the antioxidants that are packed in fresh herbs.
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Turned off by this green herb’s anise flavor? Don’t discount tarragon just yet. This delightfully fresh and fragrant herb will find its way into your culinary heart if you’re just willing to give it a chance.
This under-appreciated herb is a staple in French cuisine. It made our list of Top Herbs for Healthy Cooking because it’s easy to grow (it will last all summer and through to the fall) and its feathery leaves are just as tasty frozen or dried as they are fresh. It certainly does have an element of anise flavor but the accompanying sweetness will make even the most devout licorice-hater swoon.
In a tablespoon of fresh tarragon, you’ll find about 5 calories. There are also all kinds of nutrients including iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, C and B6.
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- Is it safe to take herbal supplements?
It’s a common (and dangerous) misconception that herbal supplements can be taken without worry. We’re giving you the facts on 5 of the most popular herbs.
Just like vitamins and minerals, herbal supplements are subject to loose regulation and labeling standards. In fact, the purity of these supplements is questionable and many are associated with dangerous side effects.
Popular Herbal Supplements
Taken to boost immunity and help cure the flu and common cold, echinacea is one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the U.S.. Research on the effectiveness of this herb is mixed. While some studies found no benefit, others did point to its ability to reduce the occurrence or duration of a cold. Taking appropriate doses of echinacea for up to 12 weeks is considered safe, yet adverse reactions including stomach upset, fever and allergic reactions have been reported.
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- Liven up summer dishes without adding extra fat or calories with a few sprigs of green.
The Romans believed this herb was a symbol of good luck. This month we’re celebrating fresh and feathery dill.
Also known as dill weed, you can identify this quick-growing herb by its soft feather-like leaves, sweet aroma and clean flavor. This green herb is very delicate so it’s best added to raw dishes or towards the end of cooking to preserve the flavor. Read more »
- Strawberry-Thyme Jam
Spring may be officially over, but never fear: You can savor the flavors of spring produce year-round! Preserve your goodies with these tips and recipes for freezing, drying, canning and more.
Save strawberries, cherries, peas and more »
- Chicken Fajitas
Cilantro is fresh, flavorful and super-easy to grow. Most folks either love it or hate it, but we fall in the former category here at Healthy Eats! Find out what’s to love about this polarizing herb.
Why we love cilantro »
- Giada's Parmesan-Basil Wafers
The basil plants in my garden are getting ready to explode –- in a few short weeks I’ll have bunches and bunches on my hands. Here are 5 different ways to use this fresh and flavorful herb.
See our favorite basil recipes »
- Dana's Home-Grown Basil
They’re just tiny sprouts right now, but in a few weeks the herbs in my garden will be flourishing. Growing your own herbs is easy, and you don’ t need loads of space to do it. Start them now and enjoy them all summer long! Here are some tips to get you started.
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