Herbs play a big role in French cooking. They offer flavor and aroma to food that can help develop both senses of taste and smell for your kids. Choose fresh or dried herbs depending on what is available in your area. If you would like to try growing your own, herbs grow well in indoor containers or outdoor gardens.
Commonly used herbs in French cooking include:
- Fennel – Fennel’s refreshing licorice flavor enhances poultry and vegetable dishes. Fennel is also a great source of Vitamin C. Use dry fennel seeds in soups or stews or roast the bulbs and serve it as a vegetable.
- Lavender – This herb is commonly found in perfume or aromatherapy, but some varieties are edible. Use fresh or dried lavender flowers in baked goods and as a seasoning for vegetables.
- Marjoram – Marjoram tastes a bit like oregano with a delicate citrus twist. It is a great all-around herb and can be used to season meats, eggs and vegetables.
- Mint – Fresh mint’s refreshing flavor makes is the perfect ingredient for a great summer meal. It is often served with fruit (in a salad or punch) or paired with a vegetable.
- Rosemary – Rosemary contains anti-oxidants and is full of flavor, which makes it both a tasty and healthy addition to roasted potatoes and grilled or roasted meats (especially lamb).
- Sage – Sage is best known as the seasoning in your Thanksgiving stuffing, but don’t save it for just that purpose. Use fresh or dried sage on pork, chicken, rice and vegetable dishes.
- Tarragon – Adding a small amount of fresh or dried tarragon to vinegars and oils is a great way to add flavor to meat, tofu, seafood and vegetable dishes.
- Thyme – Thyme is a culinary favorite for many chefs. Use thyme to season soups, salads, meats and vegetables. It brings a sweet, lemony flavor to food.
Herbs de Provence
Herbs de Provence is a robust mixture of dried herbs made popular in the southeastern region of France. It is often used to flavor grilled meats, fish, eggs and vegetables. It is added before or during cooking. There are many variations to this herb mixture but most recipes use rosemary, savory, marjoram and thyme. Lavender is a newer addition to the traditional mixture and adds wonderful aroma.
Make Herbs de Provence at home:
In a small mixing bowl, combine:
- 5 Tbsp. Dried thyme
- 3 Tbsp. Dried savory
- 2 Tbsp. Dried marjoram or oregano
- 5 Tbsp. Dried rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. Dried lavender flowers (optional)
Store in an air-tight container in a dark place. Use as a seasoning for grilled meats, fish, eggs and vegetables. For best results, add before or during cooking.
About The Author
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.