Unusual herbs

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chef oliver, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    Hi, guys, which unusual herbs do you use in kitchen?...I mean, not common herbs, like rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, etc. Do you go sometime to the forest or meadow to get some significant herbs or flowers to cook with or garnish dishes?
     
  2. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    Spring and summer :  a popular and favorite salad, Pansy

    [​IMG]
     
  3. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    I believe that with globalization, there are very few herbs or plants, one might consider rare ...

    Asian: Wasabi, curries, algaes, ginger, Daikon ...

    South American: Brazilian Amazonian Acai berries

    European / USA and Canada: chili peppers a to z ( La Rioja and The Basque Country have their indigenious types ) and Galician Grelos which are called Turnip Greens however, have absolutely nothing to do with the vegetable turnips. Savoury winter and summer. Grape vines and grape leaves are prevalent in La Rioja cuisine. Olive pits are used in Andalusia for Barbecuing. In La Rioja, pruned grape vines are used. In Barcelona and Girona, there are Calcots, a sweet spring onion. Could we consider Funghi or Ceps or Wild mushrooms herbs ? They are a type of plant life. Boletus Eduli Wild Mushrooms or Ceps and Black Trumphets.   

    Mexico:  chili peppers a to z and Jícama
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I wonder how you define unusual, in this context. So much of it has to do with the cuisines you're used to cooking, and the herbs you consider common.

    For instance, I was really surprised, recently, to discover how few people are familiar with savory. For me it's an everyday herb. Most people do not consider lavender as a culinary herb. But in the south of France it's fairly common. Among all the things I grow in the culinary herb bed at Fort Boonesborough, the one I get most questions about is sage: What is it? And how do you use it? I mean sage, for cripes sake. How much more common can you get?

    Foraging really depends on time and place. Sassafras is wild crafted throughout the southern states, for example, as are a wide assortment of greens. Indeed, in the Med, most of the "standard" herbs grow wild, and are gathered by cooks.
     
  5. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    @ Petals and Coco, 

    Pretty perfect salad...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  6. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    Thanks everyone for your posts...maybe I didn´t specify that question exactly. Yes, that is true, that "unusuality" of herbs depends of what type of cuisine do you cook. I cook every cuisine, look for and discover new recipes, create my own, so I know really plenty of ingredients. What I thought with that term - unusual herbs, is non-typical herbs for cooking, some kinds of grass or flowers (for example rose petals, it is quite unusual ingredient for me, lavender, dandellion leaves, etc. :) )....
     
  7. denis dubiard

    denis dubiard

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    [​IMG]

    Mauve Sylvestre or Fausse Guimauve.

    i used it for salades and dressing plates for service!

    i was picking them 3 to 4 times a week on my way to work last year.

    customers were always suprise and always asked what that plant was!

    la Mauve it was growing everywhere around the island.

    picking as well plants for my mesclun Roquette salade leaves

    one that I have noticed did not have the time to do something great is the Sea Holly

    that one was growing on the sandy part near the beach

     


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    Sea Holly


    Part use: roots

    Actions: diuretic, anti-lithic,
    Apothecary

    Internal: Sea holly is employed in many urinary conditions, used to combat kidney stones & gravel,

    it will ease colics & reduce haemorrhage, with other ingredient it can be employed to help in condition  such as cystitis,

    urethritis, & inflamed prostate glands

    Found some Cardon too and wild Spinach too as well as wild Carrots

    hummmm love those things and it is always good to get them yourself.

    I had a good time picking a lots of wild Fennel

    and couple of month ago, I went in the far back country closes pass Castelnaudary near Rennes le Chateaux and brought back with me 2 wild thym plantes, could have brought back some wild Lavender but did not....... 

    I have used in 2001 one plante that I have asked to be planted for me especially. and on my request they did!

    I was doing some tonic water infusion for myelf to give me a boost in the morning after starting the range at 6am a purple drink that was with all sort of ingredients and it did work with the quantity of leaf I had for a small drink.

    [​IMG]

    Orach Red Mountain Spinach


    Part used: aerial part

    Actions: tonic, stimulant, digestive, diuretic, astringent,
    Apothecary

    Internally: Red mountain spinach has the same property as the spinach but some of its constituents are in a high proportion which make it an ideal remedy for tiredness, taken with other ingredient in infusion will give the patient an energy booster.

    Oh so many of plantes with so good effect and unusual staf to make drinks and salade with the one I like to use is Borage a very nice flower with great taste and values. found some last May wild growing............
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  8. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    to Ishbel:

    Thank you for response too, i am very familiar with Thai cuisine, I love it, so i know herbs and spices like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, coriander seeds, roots, leaves, ginger or cumin and I love to use them :)...but I have never heard about samphire, I have to look for it..:)

    to Dennis Dubiard:

    thanks for your deep characteristics of that herbs, I found it very inspirational...
     
  9. denis dubiard

    denis dubiard

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    my dear I have a lot of those stuff datas. all in english and started another section with vegetables and their characteristics and values and history.

    and my english is getting worst since been back :)

    should try to regroup the lot and edit it. really with recipes. but time is not my Allie........................................
     
  10. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    That´s perfect, to make that characteristics tables..you should create your own website for that, i think it could be very helpful to get priceless informations...
     
  11. denis dubiard

    denis dubiard

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    [​IMG]

    once upon a time I did creat a web site off air since 2006 I think>

    but not as detail now with the vegie bits and pieces.

    really always important to know those things especially when we can find plant such as

    [​IMG]

    Thymes


    Variety: Lemon Thyme, Common Thyme, silver & golden varieties, (Silver Queen) (Silver Posie)

    Part use: leaves and flowers

    Actions: Carminative, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, astringent,
    Apothecary:

    A high content in volatile oil, thyme is use for dyspepsia & Sluggish digestion; it is also a strong antiseptic, which explain many of its usages.

    Internally: It is use for respiratory, digestion, as a gargle for Laryngitis, tonsillitis, easing sore throats & irritable coughs. Very good for cough remedy

    It may be use for bronchitis, whooping cough and Asthma, it as found its use as a gentle astingent where it found its way for childhood diarrhoea and bed-wetting.

    Externally: It is use as a lotion for infected wound

    I used use it with other ingredient as a tonic drink to the start of the day

    Or

    [​IMG]

     

    Lavender


    Part used: Flowers

    Actions: Carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant, rubefacient.
    Apothecary

    The flower s are very delicate they should be gather at the start of the flowering before the opening, they should be dried at the outside temperature not above 35degree

    Internally: Effective for Headaches, related to stress, effective to clean depression. A tonic plant for nervous disorders & exhaustion. It can be put in teas to induce natural sleep.

    Externally: Will ease rheumatism pain and aches, as oil or ointments
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  12. guts

    guts

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. jenniflop

    jenniflop

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    A new one I've just recently heard of is Alexanders. You can read more about it here. It brings up an interesting observation as well---how different our tastes must be from those of our ancestors! Despite the survival of recipes and culinary tradition, even the very plants we use to make them have changed drastically with domestication. Wouldn't it be neat to go back in time and taste an authentic meal from the past!

    Another one I occasionally come across but am not very familiar with is Angelica...especially in baking. I bought some (dried) recently out of curiosity, but have no idea what to do with it.
     
  14. sousvide68

    sousvide68

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    this
     
  15. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    GUTS, what is that?
     
  16. denis dubiard

    denis dubiard

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    I think we all know what Guts has posted!

    a plant used in medecine

    from family sativa or Indica or ruderalis

    that one is a not so common Hemp Plant in full flowering position by the look at it!.

    In cooking well that is not really the purpose for comments really but in medicine that plant do have some very interesting purpose when they prescribe it!

    as for dried angelica oh I never came across that one

    [​IMG]

    Angelica


    Part used: Roots, leaves, stems, seeds

    Action: Carminative, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, diaphoretic
    Apothecary

    Internally: Angelica is a useful plant in chest infections creating cough, the plant is ideal to treat fever, cold or influenza. As well as intestinal colic & flatulence. The plant got some digestive agent that stimulate the appetite, & that acts as an urinary antiseptic.

    Mixed with Coltsfoot & White Horehound to treat bronchial conditions, with Chamomille for indigestion, flatulence & loss of appetite.

    External: Angelica used as a compress is used with for inflammation of the chest or easing inflamtion of the chest
     
  17. xerp

    xerp

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    Agreed... I can make some wonderful things with this herb.
     
  18. denis dubiard

    denis dubiard

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    wel tea's is one of the old Jamaican ladies use it for. but then in cooking that is not aload been a narcotic and is just legal on medicinal purposes. for certain ailgments muscle pains in particular.

    as for a subject of been legal not really as that one has to be monitored for true reasons.

    if one can not undertand that well that is not right! 

    been a kin gardener and having in my younger age experience like Clinton did and others during era's of well experiencing stuff. that plant shoud kept in stricked regulations.

    as in Herbalism rules are implied and it has to be followed, dosages to us are important.

    as a lot of  people not understand to follow rules or do place themselve upon rules.

    through History the making of the bread in the middle ages they used a fungie for the making of bread a dosage and the fermentation of the fungie became Allucinogen. that was during the middle ages. and many started to see visions after been poisoned by the Items.

    question is! has it been used and done purposly that is the question. and a question should remain unanswered!

    but on the other hand there is one spice which has been spoken about and is a strange Nutmeg!.

    [​IMG]

     Nutmeg

    Part use: flower, fruit

    Action: anti-flatulence, aromatic, digestive, stimulant, carminative
    Apothecary:

    Nutmeg taken in large quantity can become a narcotic

    Internally: The effect of the Nutmeg can counter flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea & diarrhoea,

    In small quantity it become a small sedative, it can be added to a hot milk infused with other ingredients to become a nightcap drink

    as for what Guts and  Xerp i writing about they do not know what they are talking about!.

    firstly the plant taken in picture has been badly looked after and is in poor state!. certainly like guts and Xerp are!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  19. freebookings

    freebookings

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    Here are a few herbs I encountered while traveling around the Middle East:
    • Zaatar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Za'atar - you probably already know this one, but I love this with some olive oil and freshly made bread.

    • Habuck and Marmaraya - two herbs used by bedouins to prepare tea (don't know how easy these are to procure without a plane ticket)
     
    denis dubiard likes this.
  20. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Wouldn't it be neat to go back in time and taste an authentic meal from the past!

    No need to go back in time, Jenniflop. Food historians and historic reenactors prepare such meals all the time.

    I happen to specialize in 18th century North American colonial foods, for instance. But you can go back all the way to the Romans if you want, because the food data is available.