If you want to keep your salt and MSG consumption to a minimum, you would have to start adding in fresh and dried herbs to your cooking. The reason why packaged foods and fastfood meals are high in salt is because in an effort to keep costs down, manufacturers skip fresh herbs and spices and simply use more salt, MSG and a host of cheap, laboratory-synthesized flavorings and colorings.
One truth in culinary science is that very little salt is needed if there are enough natural flavors in a dish. The inherently rich flavors of meat, vegetables and herbs are already so satisfyingly full and deep that a pinch of salt may be all that is needed.
It is thus wise to never run out of herbs and spices in your kitchen. Here are some handy-dandy tips for storing fresh herbs and dry spices.
For Fresh Herbs
Keep an herb garden.
Planting herbs is still the best way to have fresh herbs anytime. My little garden, though not really tended to full well, gives me fresh lemongrass, ginger and scallions. I also used to have tomatoes, oregano and Thai basil — which reminds me to replant them.
Let herbs stand in water.
If you do not have an herb garden, you can still lengthen the life of store-bought fresh herbs by treating them the way you would fresh flowers. Put them in a jar with enough water and some of them will keep fresh for a day or two. A row of pretty jars by your kitchen counter or windowsill not only is a pretty sight but also serve as ready containers for fresh herbs. Remember to change the water every day and to use them as soon as possible.
Loosely wrap fresh herbs with paper and the store them in the ref, taking care they’re not crushed or pressed. Paper helps to absorb moisture which helps them from going bad quickly.
For Dried Herbs and Spices
Some herbs taste even better when dried. Generally however, dried herbs are not as flavorful as fresh ones yet they are more nifty and nourishing add-ons to meals compared to salt- and MSG-laden bouillon cubes and instant seasoning mixes.
- Situate your spice rack in a cool, dark place away from heat and sunlight. Do not keep your spice rack near the stove as steam and heat can cause moisture buildup inside the spice bottles.
- For optimum flavor, use dried herbs within 6 months after opening the spice bottle.
- Buy only the kinds and at the amounts you intend to use within a few months.
- Keep learning new recipes which call for the spices you have so you can use them up before they go bad.
Would you like to look at my spice rack?
Or try a spicy Indian dish?
Or simply learn to put together a spicy marinade?
What are your favorite spices and how do you use them?