Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices boost flavor, and are salt- and sugar-free!
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- In bulk foods, you can buy a small amount to use while the flavor is strongest. Or try something new.
- Check for a “BEST by” date on packaged spices and herbs. They are still safe after the date but the flavor will be weaker.
- Fresh herbs should be a color typical for the herb. Avoid wilted or yellowed leaves.
- If you garden, grow some herbs. Try basil, parsley, chives and others in the ground or a container.
Store Well Waste Less
- Store dried herbs and spices in a cool, dark location away from direct heat or sunlight.
- Keep containers tightly closed. Whole dried spices keep their flavor for up to 4 years; ground spices for 2 to 3 years and dried herbs for 1 to 3 years. Smell them to check for strength of flavor.
- Refrigerate fresh herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro upright in a glass of water like flowers. Cover with a loose plastic bag.
- Wash fresh herbs just before using by pushing up and down in a bowl of water; lift out of the water; repeat in fresh water until no dirt appears in the bowl.
- Freeze fresh herbs and use in cooked dishes within one year. Remove clean, dry leaves from main stems, spread on a tray and freeze. Package in freezer quality container labeled with with the herb’s name and date.
Fresh or Dried?
Both fresh and dried herbs add flavor. Adjust amounts to your taste.
Most Herbs: 3 teaspoons fresh = 1 teaspoon dried
Garlic: 1 clove fresh = ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Ginger: 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root = ¼ teaspoon ground ginger powder
Using Herbs and Spices
Homemade Seasoning Blends
When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to:
- measure and mix ingredients together.
- wash and cut up fruits and vegetables for dipping.