Nutrition: Brighten your kitchen’and cooking’with fresh herbs

OK, maybe I’ve got a touch of spring fever from all the daffodils and tulips popping up in my neighbourhood,

nutritionbrightenyourkitchenandcookingwithfreshherbs

OK, maybe I’ve got a touch of spring fever from all the daffodils and tulips popping up in my neighbourhood, or maybe it was spotting the first bunches of wild leeks (ramps) at the farmers’ market this weekend, but suddenly I’m looking for ways to make my home, and kitchen in particular, reflect what’s happening outside. My favourite way to do this: pots of fresh herbs. Already garden centres are carrying most of them’even cold-sensitive basil.

I’ve taken advantage of this instant-gardening approach by placing pots of herbs (waiting for planting, if I don’t use them all up first) on windowsills and countertops, including italian parsley, thyme and lemon thyme, rosemary (which I can’t resist sniffing every time I go by) and mint. Of course, I was also inspired by researching the health benefits of fresh herbs for the "Spring into Herbs" feature in the May issue of Best Health (on newsstands today).

It’s amazing that plants that are so flavourful and versatile also pack such a nutritional punch. That whiff of rosemary’turns out it can improve the speed and accuracy of my cognitive performance (maybe I should keep a pot on my desk!). And thyme is loaded with powerful antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C, plus iron.

Now the key is to add more to meals. You can check out any of our 12 Healthy Recipes Featuring Fresh Herbs or if you have a particular herb in mind:

Got parsley, try our Warm Tuna Pasta and Parsley Salad or Crumbed Fish with Parsley and Lemon.

For basil, there’s Angel Hair Pasta with Basil and Walnut Pesto (it also contains lots of iron-rich spinach) and Pasta and Chicken Salad with Basil, also toss a handful into Thai dishes.

What’s your favourite ways to add fresh herbs to your meals?

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