The magic of herbs

By TASTE, 19 March 2015

The lifeblood of everything from salads to stews, herbs are Mother Nature’s flavour crusaders. Here’s the lowdown on some of the most popular ones available at Woolies.

The taste: The hardy, needle-like leaves of this plant are aromatic with a slightly peppery, resin-like flavour.
The uses: It can be studded into focaccia with a sprinkling of coarse salt; sautéed in butter with mushrooms; used to add flavour to meat dishes, especially pork; immersed in olive oil to make flavoured oil, and sprinkled over veggies or potatoes before roasting.


The taste: This classic herb is mild, slightly grassy and sweet with a hint of bitterness.
The uses: It can be used to add pizzazz to boiled and buttered new potatoes; combined with garlic, olive oil and vinegar to make chimichurri, or garlic and lemon zest to make a gremolata, and it’s a key ingredient in minestrone and tabbouleh.


The taste: These smooth, pointy leaves boast a sweet flavour with hints of pepper and aniseed.
The uses: It’s a key ingredient in authentic Italian pesto, a classic margherita pizza and Caprese salad. It makes tomato-based sauces and salads sing, lifts seafood dishes, loves watermelon, pineapple and strawberries, and plays well with veggies such as brinjal and artichokes.


The taste: This delicate herb has a slightly minty and warm taste, with hints of pepper.
The uses: No stuffing is complete without thyme. It adds delicious flavour to poultry, pork and beef, lends complexity to sauces and soups, is partial to cheeses such as chevin and works wonders with olives and onions in a tart. It also takes honey-roasted carrots to a new level.



The taste: The frilly-edged bright green herb is an acquired taste because of its grassy, pungent flavour. Some say it tastes soapy or metallic.
The uses: Coriander can break the richness of dishes such as chilli con carne, or soften the blow of fiery curries. It loves avocado and works wonders in a tomato salsa, adds flavour to Asian-inspired fish cakes and is a winner in a pesto.


The taste: These long, velvety, greyish leaves have a warm, pungent and slightly musty taste.
The uses: Sage loves poultry, works well with pork, and can add substance to stuffings. The leaves are also delicious when fried and crispy, especially with pumpkin.


The taste: The bright green leaves are somewhat sweet with a fresh, cool aftertaste.
The uses: Mint is a great ingredient in drinks, as well as in seafood and lamb dishes; it lifts the taste of fresh fruit, loves peas and adds a new dimension to chocolate and lends zing to meaty dishes when used in a mint sauce.



The taste: This tiny-leafed herb has a unique sweet-savoury taste and is quite pungent.
The uses: Especially popular in Italian and Greek recipes, oregano adds depth to tomato-based and meat sauces such as Bolognese and emboldens Greek salad dressing. It’s the perfect foil for roast chicken, especially with lemon, and adds gravitas to fresh fish.



Article by TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.
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