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Discussion on Herb and Spice Primer

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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Discussion on Herb and Spice Primer
    Posted: 17 March 2012 at 10:34
Great post. An A to Z guide or by country can be a nice addition. For e.g.: Oregano - Greece, its origins and uses. How to store, grow and use.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 March 2012 at 08:37
this is a great idea! will be looking forward to using it ~
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 05:34
this is a great idea!
 
Only if people add to it, Ron. So far that's not happening. Almost two dozen views, 2 comments, but no additions. Cry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 08:38
true enough ~ for myself, i am having a great time learning, and hoping to know enough to contribute before too long....
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 11:16
I shall help at weekends, with the Mediterranean side of things ... if you would like ...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 11:50
Here's a lift from a prior discussion on vanilla beans, with the storage and handling recommendations coming from amadeusvaniilabeans.com:

Q: How should I store my gourmet vanilla beans?

A: Vanilla beans should be stored in a closed, but not air-tight, container in a cool, dry, relatively dark place. Do not store vanilla beans in the refrigerator or freezer! (The cold will dry them out and may promote a particular type of vanilla mold.) The important thing is that the temperature be relatively constant and that air circulate a bit (unless they are vacuum packed, in which case you can keep them that way until use). If you do store them in an air tight, sealed container, we recommend opening it every couple of weeks or so to let the air circulate a bit.

Q: How long will gourmet vanilla beans remain fresh?

A: Stored properly, gourmet beans should remain moist and easy to work with for at least a year, many times quite a bit longer. If the beans do dry out a bit, you can place a half of a small potato in a jar with them to soften them for use. You can also soften them a bit by placing them in some warm water or milk just before use.

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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 11:55
Ron, Daikon,
 
Thanks Daikon ... can you kindly provide the Designation of Origin on vanilla and its uses :  cakes, cookies, desserts, soups ... ???
 
Why don´t we have Ron move this over to Historic Foodie´s Herb and Spice Research Centre ( he started this project  and I culinary terms, so we need to have a MEETING and put all this where Members can find, and it is of use, to all  and examples, fotos etcetra )  and this way, perhaps, VANILLA can be alphabetically incorporated under the country or origin ...
 
And, Daikon radish root, should be under Asia !!! ( ha ha ) Thanks ... for ur assistance --- we just need to have this organised so that our posts are ALL IN SAME PLACE !!! so when we need something, we can find it ... YES ??? 
 
Se va Beni. This is good.  
 
Thanks. Grazie.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 12:03
you guys let me know how you would like it organised and i'll get it where it needs to go.  one suggestion might be for the topic originator (in this case, brook) to periodically update the original post alphabetically with the contributions from other members. another option might simply be to leave it as a running thread. there might be other, better ideas as well ~ anything that is country- or region-specific (italy, japan, middle east) etc.) might posted there, in the appropriate forum, and we could have a sticky there similar to brook's moroccan profiles topic (or the southeast-asian glossary) at the top of the appropriate region.
 
i consider this to be everyone's forum and, importantly, i absolutely believe that when members have an investment in the direction of the forum, they feel a bit of pride and ownership in the forum, which in turn produces a better community for everyone. with that in mind, what you guys come up with will most likely work just fine for me. on the flipside of that, whenever i do make an arbitrary or unilateral judgement on something, i sincerely hope that the members feel like their opinions and views were seriously considered, even if the result isn't what they wanted it to be. i spent quite a few years in the hospitality industry, so my instinct is to provide the most hospitable environment for members to discuss our common interests and passions in cooking, and i hope that i succeed in doing just that.
 
for now, i have moved this over to the HERBS AND SPICES forum and have made it a sticky ~ if anything else needs to be done, just let me know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2012 at 13:41
I don't see how this can be organized strictly on an alphabetic basis and still make any sense. For instance, let's say Margi does a definitive look at the herbs and spices used in Italian cooking. Does that go under I for Italy, or is it part of M for Medeteranean? Etc.
 
Alpheabetic would work if we were merely listing herbs. Oregano would go under the Os.
 
I'd druther folks just posted as we went along. Eventually there might be some organization necessary. If so, we can impose it after the fact, as the material will likely dictate format.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2012 at 08:07
I believe this section is perhaps the best for these GUIDES ... This way, we can all find them, or we shall be advised by Ron, that they are online in this section ...
 
Alphabetising can only possibly be done, if a specific country for example is covered: Italy;  anise, basil, etcetra ... Then it is alot easier --- as we are working with 1 dozen herbs, not 50.
 
I am open, flexible and ... I shall contribute to: Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Portugal, the countries that I know as well as my native ... and Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Mediterranean in general.
 
Thanks Margi.
 
*** NICE JOB so far ...
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 05:40
How about a plain and easy "Essential herbs to grow in your garden"?
Simply an answer to inspired cooks on which herbs to grow at home, where to grow them, how to use them, pairing herbs with what ingredients, how to process them (dry, freeze..).
 
Here's my categorization (mostly what I grow myself in my garden and/or in large pots);
- the leathery ones; thyme, rosemary, oregano and marjoram, sage
 
- the "fines herbes"; chives, parcely, tarragon, chervil
 
- optional herbes but very nice to have; lemon verbena, Spanish chervil, basil, mint, coriander, lovage, savory
 
One question to start with; which ones do you all usually grow?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 06:27
Although I occasionally grow others, my permenant list of culinary herbs includes:
 
Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, Basil, chives, lavender, both summer and winter savory, tarragon, and mint.
 
 I grow borage as a companion plant for tomatoes, and sometimes use the flowers culinarily. Which raises another question: Do y'all consider edible flowers to be herbs? Or a separate class of things?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 06:29
It would really be helpful, I believe, if we could hear from some of the lurkers and beginner cooks (often the same people) about what they would like to know about herbs and spices. That could help us focus on the directions to take.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 07:12
 
Historic Foodie,
 
Very informative posting.
 
Would it be proper terminology to call an herb in a needle form for example, Rosemary, a swig of rosemary ? I have seen this term in popular magazines in USA, UK, Sydney, and India ( no I have not been, however, Nathalia has and she has sent me magazines from there ) ... 
 
Thanks for the informative post again.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 07:23
I've always called them "sprigs" Margi. Not familiar with the term "swig."
 
Other than rosemary, are there herbs that come in needle form?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 07:33
I just made an arbitrary decision. As we amend and adapt the main primer here's how we'll do it.
 
I will go into it and, using the edit function, make any additions or changes. These will be in red. And the bottom of the page, also in red, I've added: last edit (date)
 
So, if y'all go into the primer you'll note that it was edited today. Searching for the red text reveals a comment about the potency of dried vs fresh herbs.
 
The next time I make any changes, the previous changes will be converted to black text.
 
This should allow everyone to stay up-to-date on the primer.
 
Meanwhile, any additions, comments, etc. y'all have that should be part of the primer should be posted as part of the thread, so I can add it to the appropriate spot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 08:13
brook - i think you're on to a good thing that should work pretty well.
 
the only other thing i might add is that since this is in the "general" herb and spice forum, rather than specific to any country or region, the information should also be probably be general in nature or, at most, i suppose it could say "...widely used in x, y and z cuisines...." as examples, so to speak. if there is herb/spice information specific to a country or region, we can put it in the vocabulary, glossary or flavour profile sticky at the top of that country or region, building those as needed.
 
other than that, it looks to me like we're getting some great direction here, and i thank you for that. input is always encouraged, and we can hash things out pretty well, i think.
 
off the top of my head, i don't have too many herb questions myself at the moment ~ the only thing i can think of is, when it comes to describing specific herbs and spices, whether it would be beneficial to classify each herb as annual, perennial etc., but this might be more appropriate in the gardening section. as for spices, perhaps their general region of origin would be good to know, as it could aid people in their mental associations when it comes time to apply the spice.
 
as for flower buds, i always think of them as herbs, even though i suppose they are technically not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 08:18
Historic Foodie,
 
To my knowledge, off top of Think Thank, needle like shrubery, besides Rosemary, Dill for example ... Juniper Berry possibly ... Pine of course ... Berries from a variety of Spruce, or Fir perhaps ?
 
I am working online trying to understand the Photo Bucket Business ... have some lovely ones to go with these recipes --- however, it is like learning Russian ... and I speak 5 1/2 languages. So complex and Techi ... Ron is trying to assist, however, I do not like to pester people.
 
I think this is a great idea ... since you are so knowledgeable about this side of things ...
 
Have nice day.
Margaux.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2012 at 08:31
margi - no worries about pestering, ok? we love pictures here, so if i am able to help you get it figured out, i will be sure to do so! Handshake
 
take a look at this "picture posting" tutorial here:
 
 
there's also a link (or maybe two) there, which might be able to help. once you do it two or three times, it will get really easy ~
 
let me know if you have questions!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2012 at 14:04
We've made quite a few additions to the herb & spice primer this week. If you haven't checked it out lately, you should.
 
I'd really like to know what everyone thinks of the direction it is going? And I'd like suggestons and contributions from other community members as well.
 
What about a running list of herb & spice use by cuisine? That is, the common ones used in Italian, or North African, or Southeast Asian dishes?
 
Would a listing of herb and spice blend components be useful? For instance, why buy an expensive bottle of, say, herbes de Provence when you can mix your own if you know what goes into the blend. Should dry and wet rubs be included in such a list?
 
 
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