Hints and Tips from Mama

Hints and Tips from Mama

Hint- In cooking, herbs are meant to be used to enhance your dish, not dominate it.

Tip- As guests arrive for a visit, the first thing you will hear as they enter your home is what a wonderful aroma. Cooking with herbs enhances the aroma, but if you’re not cooking that day, try warming up a small saucepan with two cups water, two cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of whole clove, a piece of orange peel, a pinch of lemon balm or verbena, or any other herb that makes you happy. Heat to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool on the stove. Your house will smell fabulous, and welcoming to others.

Hint- Many feel overwhelmed at the thought of buying and using herbs, but we all use herbs every day without realizing it. Salt and pepper! Onion and garlic are also popular enhancements to our food. Herbs aren’t so hard to use. Now you've started, add another.

Hint- If you can’t identify the herbs by taste in a tea or dish, there are too many added. No one will enjoy blah. Keep it simple and enjoy the experience of each herb and spice.

Tip- Just because you raised them doesn’t mean the entire harvest has to be used at one meal. Moderation, moderation, moderation…

Hint- Want to impress your guests? Take a half stick of good butter and melt it. Allow it to cool for one minute, and pour off the water that has separated, keeping the solids only. Add goodies, like a tablespoon of local maple syrup and a pinch of nutmeg, some minced fresh rosemary and clove of roasted garlic, local honey and a little cayenne pepper. The possibilities are endless! Mix thoroughly, cover and chill until solid on a pretty dish. Sometimes I make it even more fancy by smashing the mixture with a big book after sandwiching it between wax paper. Once a solid “patty" is formed, I use a cookie cutter to make it a lovely shape, and serve it on a pretty plate. You can also cut it with wee little cookie cutters for individual servings. This is a simple way to introduce a new herb to your family without adding it to an entire dish. It is also a great way to involve your children, a fun lesson in combining tastes and learning herbs!

Tip- Always impressive bread: Make a batch of your favorite bread dough recipe, or thaw a pre-made frozen bread dough loaf. Add 1 tablespoon of rubbed dry herb or 2 tablespoons of minced fresh herb. Use only one, or try a combination of several. Do you have a favorite herb? A herb you've always been curious about but never tried, perhaps? Dinner on the stove that could be complimented by a certain herb? This recipe is wide open for trials and tasting! Simply kneed the herbs into the dough, allow to rise and bake according to the recipe you are using. Need something fun for a dinner party? Divide the dough into roll size and add a pinch of something different to each pan or each roll! You can even let your guests choose their own and help create. Our family loves the game “Name that Herb,” smelling and tasting, guessing and laughing together. Just be sure you remember what herb is where!


Jennifer Parsons

Jennifer Parsons

Jenni is a life long herbalist who is a book obsessed, nature lover, who follows the old ways, and who lives and loves by wit, wisdom, and community.


Loved the idea about adding herbs to home made bread. Thanks to ’ Mama ’ Keith

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