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Chapter 2 ā€“ Herbs in the Kitchen

Anyone who has ever done any type of baking or cooking knows that food tastes better with herbal seasoning. This can be as simple as adding salt and pepper, or as complicated as mastering a perfect blend of spices.

What is surprising to some people is that pepper is an herb. Pepper is a berry from the Piper Nigrum plant. Black pepper and white pepper are both made from the same plant. The un-ripened berries are used for black pepper while the red, ripe ones are used for white pepper.

Along with pepper, many other herbs are used to create culinary masterpieces. Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon are common varieties of herbs used in the kitchen, as are sage, oregano and basil.

Among the most beneficial attributes of herbs are that they have no calories, no fatty acids, no cholesterol, and, generally, nothing bad at all. They simply have unique tastes that awaken the taste buds in all of us.

When using herbs for cooking, it is important to remember a little goes a long way. Too much can actually distract you from the natural flavor of the food. The entire concept of using herbs is to highlight the natural flavors. Too much can overpower the food and result in a ruined meal.

Many of the meat marinades on the market get their flavoring from natural herbs. You can use dill with lemon for fish. Saffron in your rice is always a good choice. Putting rosemary on a pork roast or tarragon on lamb results in mouthwatering treats. With so many different herbs available to us, there is something for every dish you create.

Having herbs in the kitchen is a wonderful experience for both the novice cook and the master chef. With the right blend of herbs, you can make meat rubs, soups and stew bases, or even a new flavor of coffee.

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