Herb & Serve

Since moving to Florida 7 weeks ago, there are 2 things that I can say that I definitely appreciate having throughout all year round - and that were not available to me in the Pacific NW and those are: Farmer's Markets and growing my own herbs!

Here are some herbs that I am growing in my lanai:

 The appearance of CULANTRO rich in calcium, iron, carotene, and riboflavin and its harvested leaves are widely used as a food flavoring and seasoning herb for meat and many other foods. Its medicinal value include its use as a tea for flu, diabetes, constipation, and fevers. One of its most popular use is in chutneys as an appetite stimulant. The name fitweed is derived from its supposedly anti-convulsant property.

ARUGULA has a distinct, peppery bite. It is an is an aromatic salad green.Like most greens, it is low in calories and high in Vitamin A & C.  Because it is so potent on its own, it is often mixed with milder greens to produce a nice balanced salad.  It can also be sautéed in olive oil. You can substitute most any green for arugula, but the closest matches are Belgian endive, escarole, and dandelion greens.In Roman times Arugula was grown for both it's leaves and the seed. The seed was used for flavoring oils. On another interesting note, Rocket or Arugula seed has been used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac concoctions dating back to the first century, AD. [NOT why I bought it.......but I'll keep that little tidbit in mind...:-)]

 I LOVE LOVE LOVE BASIL. I've tried several kinds and so far, love them all! I don't need a reason or a meal to go to the plant and pick a leaf and chew it. Basil is a member of the Mint family, and like most other mints, is mainly used in medicine for its digestive and anti-gas properties. Herbalists also recommend it for stomach cramps, vomiting, constipation, headaches, and anxiety. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.

THAI BASIL: It has a more assertive taste than many other sweet basils. The herb has small leaves, purple stems and a subtle licorice or mint flavor. Thai basil, which has an anise flavor, is used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It is also a frequently used ingredient in Thai red curry.

BOXWOOD BASIL: I've never tried this before now,but enjoy its distinctive flavor. It was originally bred in France for a highly flavorful pesto base. Here is a sandwich idea with basil: Tomato, avocado, red oinion, feta cheese, lettuce leaf, basil, and Italian dressing in pita bread. Yummy!

MINT: is known to have originated in Asia and the Mediterranean region. In many cultures, mint symbolised hospitality and was offered as a sign of welcome and friendship to guests as they arrived. In the Middle East mint tea is still served to guests on their arrival, whilst in ancient Greece, the leaves of mint were rubbed onto the dining table, which was a sign of their warm greeting.
Mint was also often used as an air freshener and was placed in the rooms of houses, synagogues and temples to clear and freshen the air and rid the smell of unpleasant odours from the room. The Greeks and the Romans used mint as a perfume and a bath scent, as well as using it in medicine and in cooking.

The Nutritional Value of Mint: It contains a number of vitamins and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body. Mint is rich in Vitamins A and C and also contains smaller amounts of Vitamin B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Although mint may be consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial to one's health.

Mint also contains a wide range of essential minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, potassium and calcium.
One of the ways I enjoy fresh herbs is to make a vinaigrette or marinade them in olive oil or other healthy Omega 3 oils. I've found this great Marinade Maker that makes this process much easier than what I've attempted on my own before. And....there are 20 recipes that are included with it. Just add oil and vinegar to premeasured markings on carafe and a handful of freshly harvested  herbs for garden-fresh vinaigrettes and marinades. Serve them tableside in the detachable carafe. Stainless steel blade, use-anywhere convenience (batteries included).
Aerogarden Herb'n Serve Vinaigrette & Marinade Maker

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