I started a limited series on fresh herbs last week. This week’s featured herbs are thyme, rosemary, coriander (cilantro) and tarragon. They’re all really versatile and can last a long time in the fridge, especially the woodier herbs like thyme and rosemary. To keep coriander and tarragon fresh longer, I wrap them, stalks and all, in wet, wrung-out paper towels and I put them in a large ziploc bag. They’ll keep this way for at least a week.
- a woody, perennial herb that grows well in the garden and stays fresh for a long time.
- it can be used either fresh or dried in cooking
- it is one of the main ingredients in za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend consisting of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt.
- it is often used as part of a “bouquet-garni” in French cooking; a little bundle of fresh herbs that are tied together with string or bundled in cheesecloth and added to flavour soups, stocks or stews
- thyme contains the essential oil thymol, which is an antiseptic.
- rosemary is a woody perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region.
- the needlelike rosemary leaves are used in primarily Mediterranean cooking.
- it is high in iron, calcium and some B vitamins.
- rosemary has a very old reputation of improving memory.
- coriander, also known as cilantro, is an annual herb. I have a really hard time growing it because it always goes to seed so quickly.
- it is often most associated with Mexican cooking when in fact it is used by many cultures such as Chinese, African and Portuguese.
- coriander is one of those polarizing herbs which people either love or hate (they claim it tastes like soap). I’m in the former category.
- tarragon has a mild anise flavour and is delicious paired with poultry.
- there are 2 kinds of tarragon: French tarragon and Russion tarragon. Make sure to buy French tarragon which is the most flavourful and best for cooking.
- tarragon is the main flavouring component of Béarnaise sauce and is also used to make tarragon vinegar, which is delicious in salad dressings