Library program teaches about cooking with herbs

Published 11:55 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Experimenting with herbs to spice dishes may give items the added boost to make the flavors superior.

“A lot of things that don’t sound good, just taste it,” said Barbara Douglas of the Community Gardeners Coalition.

She visited the library as part of National Library Week to speak about growing herbs and seasoning with herbs.

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One ingredient she was apprehensive to add to a caramel apple coffee cake was ground black pepper, but once she added it, she found that was the flavor that made her recipe pop.

She also mentioned that flowers, such as rose petals, are edible. These can serve as both a centerpiece for the table and a seasoning for the meal. Another plant that can decorate a table and a meal is anise, which has a licorice taste. It can be used in teas and pies.

“There are a lot of herbs that can be used for baking as well as for meats and vegetables,” Douglas said. She suggests researching herbs and spices to find their additional uses.

Douglas encourages people to think creatively when seasoning items.

“If you are adventurous, you can have a whole room full of spices of different types because spices come from all over,” Douglas said.

Homegrown herbs can be dried or placed in the freezer.

Once new spices are brought into the kitchen, it is all about experimentation.

“Now your kitchen is in for a new adventure, and you’ve got to go in and discover,” Douglas said. “That’s how you’re going to get your healthy eating because you have your different spices that compliment different foods, whether it’s meats or vegetables. Our job as pioneers is going in the kitchen and find out what herb or spice compliments that particular meat or fruit or vegetable to bring out that taste. The reason why we use so much salt and pepper in our society, I feel is that is what we were oriented to. If it was bland, bring on the salt.”