Herbs have been the main source of medicine throughout human history.

Cooking with Herbs The following flavor and food combinations, provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, have the added benefit of making meat, poultry, fish and vegetables tasty without adding salt.

Cooking: Flavor With:
Beef Bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme
Lamb Curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint
Pork Garlic, onion, sage, pepper, oregano
Veal Bay leaf, curry powder, ginger, marjoram, oregano
Chicken Ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
Fish Curry powder, dill, dry mustard, marjoram, paprika, pepper
Carrots Cinnamon, cloves, dill, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Corn Cumin, curry powder, onion, paprika, parsley
Green Beans Dill, curry powder, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme
Greens Onion, pepper
Potatoes Dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, sage
Summer Squash Cloves, curry powder, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Winter Squash Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, onion
Tomatoes Basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper
Cucumbers Chives, dill, garlic, vinegar
Peas Green pepper, mint, fresh mushrooms, onion, parsley
Rice Chives, green pepper, onion, paprika, parsley


How To Use Spices and Herbs

  • Use no more than 1/4 teaspoon of dried spice (3/4 of fresh) per pound of meat
  • Add ground spices to food about 15 minutes before the end of cooking time
  • Add whole spices to food a least one hour before the end of cooking time
  • Crush dried herbs before adding to foods

How Much To Add?

The amount to add varies with the type of spice or herb, type of recipe and personal preference. If possible, start with a tested recipe from a reliable source. If you’re creating your own recipe, begin with trying one or two spices or herbs.

Substituting Equivalent Amounts of Different Forms. What if your recipe calls for fresh herbs and all you have are dried herbs? Here are some approximate amounts of different forms of herbs equivalent to each other:

  • 1 tablespoon finely cut fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried leafy herbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground dried herbs

Begin with 1/4 teaspoon of most ground spices or ground dried herbs for these amounts and adjust as needed:

  • 1 pound of meat
  • 1 pint (2 cups of soup or sauce)

Start with 1/8 teaspoon for cayenne pepper and garlic powder; adjust as needed.

Red pepper intensifies in flavor during cooking; add in small increments.

When To Add

The type of spice or herb and the type of food for which it is used influence the time to add it during food preparation As a general rule, add fresh herbs near the end of the cooking time as prolonged heating can cause flavor and aroma losses For uncooked foods, add spices and herbs several hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Note: Remove whole spices and bay leaves at the end of cooking; secure them in a tea ball for easy removal.

Herbal Salt Substitutes

Try this blend of herbs: 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, and powdered lemon rind. Use a mortar and pestle to grind them together. Transfer to a salt shaker. Add a few grains of rice to keep the mixture dry.

For a spicier blend, use 1 teaspoon each ground cloves, black pepper and crushed coriander seed, plus 2 teaspoons paprika and 1 tablespoon rosemary.

Read More about: Herbs