Originally posted January 10, 2014
That’s right – spice things up!
This was one of the first steps I took to reduce sodium. There are so many herbs and spices to choose from, each changing the same recipe as they blend with the ingredients. Experiment with your favorites and with some you have never tried. READ the labels! I like chili powder probably more than anyone should. Imagine my surprise when I learned many brands have salt in them. It is fairly easy to find some that doesn’t. It taste better, too.
Oils and vinegars are ingredients to help you make changes. They come in so many varieties today each adding their own unique taste to a dish. Choose ones of good quality.
Here are some of my favorite seasonings including herbs, spices, oils, and vinegars. Start out with a small amount and add to taste.
The top three herbs to use together of thyme, basil, and rosemary has been discussed at length in previous posts. Lavender especially used with lemon in muffins, lemon bars, and other baked goods adds a flavorful touch. Try sumac in rice and Greek dishes. Don’t forget oregano, cumin, peppers (black, white, red), bay leaves, paprika, cardamon and many more. More to consider are cinnamon, ginger, dry mustard, and cloves. If you feel intimidated at first, try some of the many blends available for all types of dishes.
There is a great comparison chart of oils on a blog written by Andrew Wilder at http://www.eatingrules.com/2012/02/cooking-oil-comparison-chart/ if you are interested. While you’re there look around. You might find more ideas to help you make changes or continue your path to living healthier.
Olive and coconut oil are my go to oils, but some of the others are great to use in certain dishes such as nut oils. You can also buy oil infused with other ingredients. We like a little heat in many dishes and we have one oil infused with chili peppers. Don’t be afraid of using some butter. alone or with oils. Vinegars go hand in hand with the oils in many flavors. Currently my favorite is balsamic vinegar infused with pears. I enjoy balsamic vinegars in many recipes, but I also use wine, apple cider, asian, herb, rice, and malt vinegars. There are others I haven’t tried yet but I will.
Hints. Check out the best way to store these. Start an herb garden. Make your own herb vinegars and pepper sauce.