When it comes to herbs, are you missing out by only giving your attention to the well-known, most talked about varieties? Here is a list of underrated herbs that you need to try, with uses from cooking to wellness!
Yes, the low-calorie sugar substitute is an herb! Natural stevia, compared to the commercial product, has a much more palatable taste free of chemicals. Depending on the plant, it can be as much as 15 times sweeter than sugar, with health benefits such as controlling tooth decay and gum disease, keeping the cold and flu at bay, and even potentially regulating blood pressure. It can be used fresh, dry, or made into a sugar syrup.
Pineapple sage is a highly underrated herb; it makes a tasty hot or cold tea, a great addition to fruit or vegetable salads, salsas, or pizzas, and has edible sweet flowers. Not to mention it really smells like pineapple!
Marjoram, a member of the oregano family, is a mild herb that compliments soups, stews,peppers, eggs, and pork dishes without the strong flavor of regular oregano. It can be used both fresh or dried.
Catnip is often brushed to the side as only for cats – think again! Catnip is actually part of the mint family, and has a host of uses in cooking and health-related recipes. It can be used to reduce fevers, relieve achy muscles, and soothe stomach upsets. It is often used in teas to help calm the nerves and improve digestion. Catnip can also act as a repellent for termites and fleas.
With a curry-maple syrup scent, the curry plant is one that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s sweet and spicy aromas add delicious subtle flavor to a variety of savory and sweet dishes, such as egg dishes, roasted meats, chicken, yogurts, and mild cheeses. Remember, less is more – too much can add an unwanted bitterness. If the flavor isn’t for you, it is perfect for use in an herb wreath or potpourri.
Chives are excellent as a garnish or seasoning for many vegetables, cream soups, sauces, and mashed potatoes. Fresh chives have a similar flavor to green onions, and are very easy to grow. The chive flowers can also be used (try a chive flavored vinegar to top your salads)!
Saffron is, by weight, the most expensive herb on the planet. Luckily, it is possible to grow saffron both indoors and outdoors fairly easily. It can be used for aromatherapy, cooking, and as an addition to tea.
The strong scents and flavors of lemon and eucalyptus make this herb a powerful herb to have on hand. It is pleasant to use for aromatherapy as well as in teas and dishes that compliment the strong lemon flavor (similar to lemon verbena and lemon balm).
This herb has a delicate mint flavor and light minty aroma that is ideal for teas, salads, and garnishes. It adds a subtle mint flavor that isn’t overpowering; it’s health benefits include antiseptic properties and digestive health, and it can also be used as a deterrent for rodents.
Paprika is a commonly used to flavor cold dishes, such as deviled eggs or potato salad. However, it is often an afterthought, a garnish. Its mild but flavorful taste can hold its own as a star ingredient in meat and vegetable dishes, adding a sweet and earthy level to the food. Naturally high in vitamin C, this pepper is worth trying. Give it a kick by heating it before eating it!