6 Less Common Herbs & Spices for the Kitchen
We all know basil, oregano, and rosemary. But have you ever cooked with borage? Or culantro? There are plenty of herbs out there just waiting for the masses to discover. Click through to check them out, and be ahead of the game! You may find some of these at your local farmer’s market, or even a well-stocked grocery store. Still can’t get your hands on them? Many of these herbs will grow well in a variety of climates.
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1. Summer Savory.
What It Is: Summer savory is a bit like marjoram or thyme, but has more of a peppery flavor to it. A popular herb during medieval times, its counterpart, winter savory, has a much stronger flavor.
Use: Traditionally used to flavor beans and peas, but also works well in salad dressings, soups and marinades.
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What It Is: Borage is more commonly grown for its beautiful flowers, but the plant makes a great culinary herb as well. The leaves and flowers have a cucumber-y flavor.
Use: Borage adds a refreshing note to salads, and soups. In Italy, borage is a traditional filling for pastas. It was also the original herb used to garnish a Pimm’s Cup.
What It Is: Culantro is a popular herb in Latin American and Caribbean cooking, as well as in South and Southeast Asia, and, as you might image, is related to cilantro. Their taste is quite similar, but culantro is much stronger than its more popular cousin. In Florida and Hawaii, culantro is an invasive weed. Outside of these climates, growing culantro outdoors can be difficult.
Use: Use it in salsa, sofrito, or chutney. Explore the cuisines of the regions it is popular for more ideas, or use (sparingly) in place of cilantro.
Image Credit: Forest & Kim Starr.
What It Is: Lovage was once a popular herb in much of Europe and the Middle East. centuries since, this herb, which tastes like a cross between parsley and celery leaf, but has a brighter flavor than either.
Use: Flavor soups, salads, potatoes, eggs with lovage.
What It Is: Tangy and acidic, and bright, sorrel tastes something like a kiwi or a green apple.
Use: Sorrel is great in salads, soups, and sauces.
What It Is: Chervil is a close relative of flat-leaf and curly-leaf parsley, but is much more delicate, and thus has a shorter shelf life. It has a very mild anise flavor.
Use: Add chervil at the end of cooking, or sprinkle it on raw. Great chopped on salads, over grilled vegetables, as a finishing touch on soups and pastas.