Thyme will spice up your dishes in no time.
- Thyme is an edible, perennial herb commonly used in cooking and there are approximately 60 varieties of the plant.
- Thyme comes from the genus Thymus, that is from the family Lamiaceae, the family of mint, and the commonly used species for cooking purposes is Thymus vulgaris, also known as ‘common’, ‘garden’, and ‘German’.
- In ancient history, thyme was used for purification purposes and was believed to provide courage or be symbolic of bravery.
- The typical purpose of thyme is to flavour foods, such as meat, soups, bread, cheese, tea beverages and condiments, among others.
- Thyme can be bought as a packaged dried herb from supermarkets, and it is also available in fresh bunches, and both leaves and stalks can be used.
- The extracted oil of thyme, contains large quantities of thymol, that has antiseptic qualities, that is included in some medical and health products, and the herb can be used to treat bronchitis.
- For food use, it is preferable to use fresh thyme, which has tiny green leaves approximately 4 mm (0.16 inches) long, while dried versions are generally crushed into even smaller particles that are coloured a combination of grey, green and brown.
- Dried thyme is very high in vitamin K and high in manganese and iron, while the fresh version contains significant quantities of vitamin C and A, iron and manganese.
- Thyme plants generally grow from 15 to 40 cm (6 to 16 inches) tall and have white, purple or yellow flowers depending on the species.
- The flavour of thyme varies, depending on the variety or species, although the most common is said to have a peppery, pine-like flavour, while the lemon species has a more citrus-like flavour.
Prepare your pasta to appear profound with a piece of parsley.
- Parsley is a herb that grows as a biennial plant, and is native to some Mediterranean areas.
- The scientific name of parsley is Petroselinum crispum, and it is one of two species in the Petroselinum genus, that is from the family Apiaceae, the family of carrots and celery.
- Parsley is commonly added to dishes to flavour food, used as an ingredient in some condiments, and placed on plates or dishes as a garnish to increase the aesthetics of the food.
- ‘Parsley’ comes from the Old English and French words ‘petersilie’ and ‘peresil’, which both originate from the original Greek word for the herb, ‘petroselinon’.
- Myristicin, a volatile oil, is evident in parsley, which can negate potentially damaging molecules, like those found in smoke from cigarettes.
- Parsley has been grown in its native area since ancient times, and it has been used for medicinal purposes; while the Greeks viewed the herb as sacred, and used it to for ornamental purposes in tombs and to decorate champions of competitions.
- ‘Turnip root’ or ‘Hamburg root’ parsley is a variety of the herb that produces a root, similar in appearance to a parsnip, that can be eaten like a vegetable.
- Fresh parsley should be washed before consumption to remove dirt and other impurities, and while it is best consumed fresh, it can also be purchased as a dried herb in supermarkets.
- There are at least 30 varieties of parsley, and while they have different features, they are generally a vivid green colour and typically have a leafy appearance.
- Vitamin K levels are extremely high in parsley, and the herb has significant quantities of vitamin C and vitamin A.
You will become wise when you eat sage.
- Sage is a herb that is a perennial plant with the scientific name Salvia officinalis, that originated in the Mediterranean.
- Sage comes from the family Lamiaceae, the family of mint and deadnettle, and it has a slightly sweet and light peppery taste, that is often used to flavour savoury foods.
- Sage is commonly used to season meat and stuffing, particularly during Thanksgiving, and is also used in Italian and other European cuisines.
- Essential oil can be obtained from sage leaves, and the leaves have an abundance of special acids, as well as estrogenic material, niacin and flavones.
- Sage was commonly used in Ancient Roman and Greek society to treat numerous medical illnesses, and it is still considered to be of medicinal value.
- Sage can be used to preserve meat, and this has been known since Ancient times.
- Fresh sage leaves, which are coloured green to a slight grey, have a more prominent flavour compared to the leaves when then are dry.
- Sage is commonly available in supermarkets in dried form, and the herb can be bought whole, roughly grounded or powdered, dried or fresh.
- Sage is believed to increase memory and brain power as shown by numerous experiments.
- Sage is extremely high in vitamin K, and it also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and fibre.
Isn’t dill play-on-words fun!?
- Dill is a leafy herb that reaches heights of 40 to 60 centimetres (16 to 24 inches) and the plant is grown as an annual in full sun.
- Dill is native to Europe’s east, Russia’s south, Africa and the Mediterranean, and it is the only species in the Anethum genus; its scientific name is Anethum graveolens.
- Dill is from the family Apiaceae, that is also known as the Umbelliferae family, and it is the family of celery, parsley and carrots, and other hollow stem plants.
- ‘Dill’ is derived from the Norse word ‘dilla’, meaning ‘to lull’ or the Old English word ‘dile’, and the names are a reference to the plant’s medicinal purposes.
- Dill leaves are often used in seafood or soup dishes, as well as pickled items like cucumbers, and the seeds are used as a spice for flavouring.
- Oil can be obtained from the dill plant, which can be used to produce soap.
- Dill has been used for thousands of years, and in England in the 5th to 11th centuries it was used to treat headaches, stomach illness, boils and nausea, and other sickness.
- Fresh dill leaves are delicate and feathery and are typically coloured a bright green, while seeds are mustard to brown in colour.
- Dill has a taste described typically as mild and warm, with a slight anise flavour, and the leaves have a milder flavour than the seeds.
- Dill leaves are a very good source of vitamin C and vitamin A, and they contain many other vitamins and minerals, while the seeds are high in calcium.
Green amaranths: a weed here or a food there.
- Green amaranth is an annual herb that is generally believed to be native to tropical America.
- Green amaranth comes from the family Amaranthaceae, the family of amaranths.
- Green amaranths have the scientific name ‘Amaranthus viridis’, and ‘amaranthus’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘everlasting’ or ‘unfading’ and ‘viridis’ is Latin for green’.
- ‘Green amaranths’ are also known as ‘slender amaranths’, ‘green pigweed’, and ‘Prince of Wales feathers’.
- Green amaranths grow to be 0.3 to 1 metre (1 to 3 feet) in height, and green and yellow dye can be made from the plant.
- Green amaranths have green notched leaves and tiny flowers that grow in clusters on spikes, and the flowers are a green or brown to pink colour.
- Green amaranth fruits are small and round and do not open to release the small black seed they contain.
- Green amaranths flower mainly during warm, summer months, however flowers can be seen throughout the year, depending on the region it is grown in.
- Green amaranths are significant weeds in many countries, growing in gardens, cracks, disturbed areas, and in fields.
- Green amaranths are eaten in Greece, India and Africa, as a leafy vegetable, and are also used medicinally for a variety of purposes.
Amaranthus Viridus, n.d, Some Magnetic Island Plants, http://www.somemagneticislandplants.com.au/index.php/plants/42-amaranthus-viridis
Green Amaranth, n.d, Herbiguide, http://www.herbiguide.com.au/Descriptions/hg_Green_Amaranth.htm
Jansen P, Amaranthus viridus L., 2004, Plant Resources of Tropical Africa, http://database.prota.org/dbtw-wpd/exec/dbtwpub.dllAC=QBE_QUERY&BU=http%3A%2F%2Fdatabase.prota.org%2Fsearch.htm&TN=PROTAB~1&QB0=AND&QF0=Species+Code&QI0=Amaranthus+viridis&RF=Webdisplay
Smell the strong smelling rosemary.
- The scientific name of rosemary is Rosmarinus officinalis, ‘rosmarinus’ being Latin for ‘dew of the sea’, which is said to be a reference to its little need for water which can be derived from the moisture in the sea air.
- Rosemary is an evergreen, woody herb with spiky looking green leaves and mauve, purple, blue, white or pink coloured flowers.
- Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean area and is from the Lamiaceae family, which is the family of mint.
- Rosemary is also known as ‘anthos’, the Greek word for ‘flower’, and the ‘Rose of Mary’, due to the suggestion that Virgin Mary laid her cloak on the herb.
- Rosemary leaves are often used as a seasoning for stuffings and meat such as roast lamb, chicken, pork, turkey and in Mediterranean dishes, and the flowers can also be used, sometimes featuring in salads.
- Rosemary is quite drought tolerant, can be grown as a hedge plant, and ranges in height from 30 cm – 1.5 meters (1-5 feet) depending on the species.
- In 2013, it was officially proven that rosemary helps the brain with remembering and clarity due to the smell of the essential oil that is contained in the plant, although the Ancient Greeks and Shakespeare both discovered these memory properties long ago.
- Rosemary contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, iron, calcium and manganese, and because it contains rosmarinic acid which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it is often used for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of hair for dandruff and baldness.
- Rosemary was worn by both the bride and the groom in weddings in the Middle Ages, and a piece was then planted in the hope of good luck for the couple’s marriage.
- Rosemary is often worn at Australia’s ANZAC Day ceremonies due to the abundance of the herb at the Gallipoli war grounds and its association with remembrance.
Campbell C, Rosemary, 2011, Gardening Australia, < http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2046448.htm>
Rosemary, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary>