Seasoning with Herbs and Spices Introduction Pronunciation Tip

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Seasoning with Herbs and Spices Introduction Pronunciation Tip
Seasoning with
Herbs and Spices
Kansas State University
Agricultural Experiment Station
and Cooperative Extension Service
Jan Stephens, Multicounty Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist
Herbs and spices have been used for centuries to flavor food. We now know that
these seasonings also have health benefits.
By using herbs and spices, we can reduce
the amount of sugar, salt, or fat in food
preparation to make it more healthful.
Herbs and spices also contain powerful
disease-fighting antioxidants.
Lesson Objectives
•Increase participants’ knowledge of using
herbs and spices to flavor specific foods.
•Encourage participants to use herbs and
spices to increase flavor without added
salt, fat, or sugar.
•Share herb and spice historical lore.
Intended Audiences
This lesson is appropriate for FCE groups,
4-H Foods project members, cooking
classes, nutrition programs, or self-study.
Before the Lesson
•Read the Fact Sheet MF2920, Seasoning
with Herbs and Spices.
•Look for favorite recipes in your collections or popular sources that use herbs
and spices. Try some to recommend to
the group. Or ask the participants ahead
of time to bring their favorites.
•Collect samples of different herb and
spice packages to discuss with the group.
•Plan to serve a simple cookie recipe
made with different spices as a sample.
•Consider asking a Master Gardener,
K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent, or someone from a local greenhouse to do a session on growing herbs.
Pronunciation Tip
In the United States, pronounce “herb”
without the “h” — “erb.”
Presenting the Lesson
To start the presentation, say:
“Would you choose taste or nutrition if you
could have only one in the food you eat?
We teach nutrition, media promotes nutrition, and we all know it is very important to
eat right; but surveys show that taste is still
most important to most people. Today we’re
going to learn how you can have both! By
seasoning with herbs and spices you can add
flavor and increase nutrition in your dishes.”
Possible activities for the group include:
•Guess the seasoning — put herbs or
spices in small cups with numbers, have
members guess what they are.
•Plan a workshop to make seasoning
mixes from herbs or spices purchased in
bulk, then bag into smaller amounts for
each participant.
•Taste different spices on rice.
•Buy herbs or spices in bulk, divide into
smaller packages, and split the costs.
To add interest to the presentation, expand on
a lesser known aspect of the lesson, such as:
•Growing your own herb garden —
Refer to publication MF2579, Growing
Herbs for Home Use, or Kansas Extension Master Gardener materials.
•Preserving herbs (dry or freeze) —
Refer to University of Georgia, National
Center for Home Food Preservation
(www.uga.edu/nchfp) or the Ball Blue
Book Guide to Preserving.
Leader’s Guide
•Lore and history of herbs — Refer to
Herb and Spice History, http://consumerhorticulture.psu.edu/files/herb_spice_history.pdf, from Penn State.
•Different types of cinnamon — People
in the United States are used to cassia
cinnamon, which is grown in Indonesia.
It generally has a stronger flavor and
aroma; some consider it harsher. Ceylon
cinnamon is the typical cinnamon used
in other parts of the world; it has a mild,
citrusy flavor. Saigon or Vietnamese
cinnamon is a stronger, bolder flavor
and is becoming more popular in the
United States. Try a spice or snickerdoodle cookie recipe with different
types of cinnamon and let participants
taste the differences.
•Flavored vinegars — Basic instructions:
Use about 1 cup of fresh herbs for every
2 cups of vinegar. White wine vinegar
works well with most herbs; red wine
vinegar is best with stronger herbs such
as rosemary and oregano. Use rice wine
vinegar for delicately flavored herbs.
Gather and wash herbs, then dry with
a salad spinner and a clean kitchen
towel. Fill dry, sterilized jars with herbs.
Heat vinegar in a nonaluminum saucepan just until bubbles appear (do not
boil). Remove from heat and pour into
prepared jars, completely submerging
herbs. Cool completely. Cover and
refrigerate one week to intensify flavor.
Strain vinegar with a wire-mesh strainer
lined with a coffee filter into dry, sterilized glass bottles. You may add fresh
herb sprigs. Tightly seal with nonmetallic lids or corks; store in the refrigerator
up to one month.
•Flavored Oils — Oil-based mixtures of
garlic, herbs, or dried vegetables can pose
a health hazard if not kept refrigerated.
The FDA recommendation is that these
be made fresh for use and not left at
room temperatures. Refrigerate leftovers
for use within 10 days, freeze, or discard.
Lore of Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices have long been used around
the world for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Herbs are mentioned in Genesis and throughout the Bible, and are noted in studies of ancient
With the use of herbs and spices, symbolic
beliefs associated with them developed. For
example, rosemary was given to others for
remembrance. Sage was a sacred herb of the
Romans, believed to increase mental ability. Ancient Greeks thought of dill as a sign
of wealth. Basil is a sign of love in Italy; some
believe that if you put some basil in your wallet,
you will attract money, success, and prosperity.
– Herb and Spice History
•Plants for medicinal purposes — See
the fact sheet Magic, Medicine, or
Mystery (MF2378).
Additional K-State Research
and Extension resources
Beef: Choices, Preparation and Flavor
(MF2888) for information on marinades.
Family Nutrition Program (FNP) display and handout available from K-State
Research and Extension.
Food preservation information — Rapid
Response Center
Nutrition information — Human Nutrition website
Community Awareness
Present the lesson to another group that
would not normally use these materials.
Plan a “seasoning swap.” Ask members to
bring those seasonings they have extra jars
of, or have found they don’t like or use, and
exchange them. Or donate them to a community kitchen.
Set up the FNP display “Seasoning with
Herbs and Spices” in a public location, such
as the courthouse hallway.
Janet F. Stephens, Multicounty Family and
Consumer Sciences Specialist, K-State
Research and Extension
Kathy Walsten, Family Nutrition Program
Mary Meck Higgins, Human Nutrition
Barb Roths, Butler County FCS Agent
Donna Martinson, Geary County FCS
Agent (retired)
References and Resources
Consumer Reports diet and nutrition resources
Cooking with Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings, bulletin, FDNS-NE 113, 2002, University of Georgia
Cooperative Extension Service
Flavored Oils and Vinegars, Colorado State University Extension, bulletin #9.340, http://www.
“Flavored Vinegars,” Southern Living, July 2009
Food Reflections, Jan/Feb 2002; and Add a
Little Spice (& Herbs) to Your Life, University of
Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster
County, Alice Henneman, MS
Herb and Spice History, Penn State College of
Agriculture Sciences Cooperative Extension,
Dept. of Horticulture
IFIC Foundation — “Good Food. Good Flavor.
Good Health.” Food Insight, March/April 2008
K-State Research and Extension — Mary Meck
Higgins, Karen Blakeslee, and Kathy Walsten
McCormick Science Institute
www.spicesfor health.com
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
“Sleuthing Cinnamon,” Cook’s Illustrated, Oct/
Nov 2009
“Spice it up: Disease fighting flavors.” Consumer
Reports, October 2007; http://www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/diet-nutrition/
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In each case, credit Jan Stephens, Seasoning with Herbs and Spices, Leader’s Guide, Kansas State University, July 2010.
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
July 2010
K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, as amended.
Kansas State University, County Extension Councils, Extension Districts, and United States Department of Agriculture Cooperating, Gary Pierzynski, Interim Director.
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