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Herbs

The leaves, flowers and sometimes stems of a group of aromatic non–woody plants used in cooking. The same and additional plants are also used medicinally. The word is derived from the Latin herba, which means ‘grass’. Culinary herbs are used to impart an aromatic quality to food either individually or in a mixture. The flavour comes from the oil stored in the leaves, which is released when the herb is crushed, chopped or heated. Particular herbs suit different styles of cooking and every cuisine has its favourite herbs—the Middle East and Greece favour oregano, mint and dill; Thai cuisine uses coriander and lemon grass; in Italy, basil, parsley and oregano are commonly used; and in France, tarragon, chervil and fennel. The types of herbs used may also vary according to the season. Obviously you can use herbs at any time, but the type of recipe they suit is often applicable for that time of year. Typical summer herbs are basil, dill, mint, oregano and parsley; spring herbs are chives, sorrel and chervil; and typical winter herbs are sage, rosemary and thyme.