Instead of relying on the butter pats and salt shaker, I am challenging you to boost your creativity by flavoring this year’s holiday meals with culinary herbs. Recent research on the cardiometabolic effects of butter consumption points to an overall neutral association of butter and mortality, CVD, and diabetes risk (Pimpin, Wu, Haskelberg, Del Gobbo, & Mozaffarian, 2016). Although the health impact of saturated fats is still under research, it is known that most adults and children in the United States exceed the recommended sodium consumption outlined in the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Jackson, King, Zhao, & Cogswell, 2016).
When planning your holiday menus this year, consider the myriad opportunities you have to add herbs to your favorite meals. A festive example is bruschetta topped with sweet and peppery basil to make a standout appetizer (Claiborne, 2012). For your next family dinner, imagine your delicious holiday turkey stuffed with rosemary, thyme, and sage leaves - a symphony of fragrant wood and mint notes that can’t be missed.
How you do it:
- To maximize flavor, crush your herbs with a mortar and pestle prior to adding them to your dish.
- Store freshly cut herbs in water to keep them green.
- Consider cultivating an herb garden (or keeping a few pots by the windowsill) with easy access while cooking.
- When making recipe substitutions, remember that dried herbs have a much more concentrated flavor than their fresh counterparts.