served with the Thanksgiving meal can be enlivened with herbs.
Herbal punch can be made from a blend of two parts herb tea and one
part fruit juice. For herbal punch, brew the tea first, refrigerate
it until serving time, then mix it together with fruit juice. Herbs
to use for tea include lemon balm, peppermint,
chamomile, rosemary, and fennel
to mention just a few. Combinations of herbs that blend well for tea
include marjoram and mint;
thyme and rosemary;
lemon verbena and mint;
lovage and salad burnet; and bergamot and sweet cicely.
All sorts of herbs can be added to homemade
breads and rolls to lend a variety of flavors. As a general rule, mix
three quarters to one teaspoon of powdered herb into each cup of
flour. Use one teaspoon crushed herb seeds to each cup of flour. Dill,
fennel (seeds), and rosemary
are three top choices. Dill and fennel
(seeds) will add a medium flavor and rosemary
will be strong.
of using plain butter as a spread on homemade bread or rolls, try
herb butter instead. There are many herb blends that add flavor to
butter. They include marjoram, thyme,
and chives; basil and chives; dill
and parsley; and tarragon, dill,
and chives. To make herb butter, let
the butter soften until the herb blends can be easily mixed in. Use
up to three tablespoons of fresh herbs to each half cup of butter.
When using dried herbs, use half the recommended fresh amount.
Different herbs complement different types of
soups. Oregano, bay,
and sage are always paired with bean
soups. A cream-based or potato soup is delicious with dill.
A salad of fresh greens served with the
Thanksgiving dinner can incorporate herbs in several ways. Fresh
salad burnet leaves mixed into the greens adds a flavor of cucumber.
Fresh or dried dill sprinkled on top
simple dressing of oil and vinegar served with the salad can have
added flavor by using herbal vinegar. Tarragon
is probably the most widely used herb for herbal vinegar. Other herbs
to add to vinegar include marjoram,
borage, salad burnet, lemon thyme, lemon
verbena, thyme, and rosemary.
Herbal vinegar is usually allowed to steep for several weeks in the
garden in the sun during summer, but a quick way to make herbal
vinegar at this time of year is to heat the vinegar either on the
stove or in the microwave, then add the herbs. Don't let the vinegar
boil. The heat extracts the oils from the herbs and it's the oils
that add flavor. Fresh herbs contain more oil than dried and will add
more flavor. Strain out the herbs before using. A good blend of herbs
to use to flavor an oil and vinegar dressing is marjoram,
basil, and sage.
Using about equal parts of each herb, blend them thoroughly, then
add two teaspoons of the blended herbs to three quarters of a cup oil
and one third cup vinegar. Allow the dressing to stand for at least
15 minutes for the flavors to blend and intensify.
it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, the entree is usually turkey with
stuffing, although pheasant and duck are also popular. Sage
is the traditional Thanksgiving herb used in turkey stuffing and is
probably the most familiar herb associated with Thanksgiving. Marjoram
and rosemary can also be added to
adds a strong flavor, while marjoram
is more mild. For flavoring the turkey, combine basil,
or thyme with melted butter and
brush it over the turkey. As the turkey bakes, the butter will help
brown the skin and the flavors of the herbs will seep into the meat.
are many side dishes served with Thanksgiving dinner, and all of
them can be made more flavorful with the addition of herbs. Baked
winter squash is a traditional, seasonal dish that is usually served.
Try baking it with fresh, finely-chopped rosemary
for a strong flavor. The best herbs to combine with mashed potatoes
are dill, marjoram,
mint, or savory. All impart a
medium flavor, except savory,
which has a rather strong, peppery flavor. Savory
is also the best herb to mix into green bean dishes. Steamed carrots
can be made tastier with marjoram,
rosemary, or mint.
Anise leaves add a mild, licorice flavor to yams. A relish to serve
alongside cranberry sauce combines onions and thyme.
Even the salt shaker on the Thanksgiving dinner
table can be enlivened by herbs. Blend an equal amount of dried herb
with table salt. Basil,
tarragon and thyme
can all be used for herb salt. For a salt-free substitute, blend
together dried parsley, oregano, dill
seed, winter savory, marjoram,
lemon thyme, and cayenne pepper. This blend will add flavor without salt.
with Thanksgiving dinner includes pie, cookies, and cake. Anise can
be used as a substitute for nutmeg in pumpkin pie. Fennel
seeds added to an apple pie before it's baked impart a mild,
anise-like flavor. Caraway seeds are used in spice cookies and apple
pie. In cake recipes that call for lemon, fresh leaves of lemon
verbena can be used instead.
From the appetizer to dessert, a variety of fresh
or dried herbs can add distinctive taste and fragrance to the
traditional Thanksgiving meal.