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Diabetes Cooking Tip: Make Your Own Herb Blends

Herb Blends Help Spice Up Diabetic Recipes

Dried herbs can add so much flavor to dishes; they can really help you "spice up" diabetic recipes.  You can buy herb blends, but it's rather easy to make your own.  We explain how to do that in this article.  Mix up your own blends and then use them in our diabetic recipes.

Herb Gardening
One of the many rewards of herb gardening is using the harvest later in the year in cooking or for decorating your house, bringing the scents, colors, and textures of your herb garden indoors.

When the snow or sleet/rain is falling during the long winter months, potpourri you’ve blended from leaves and favorite flowers will recall the scent and beauty of your summer garden.

You can also make herb blends with dried herbs purchased in jars. To save money, you might wish to purchase large bottles of herbs at a discount store.

Gourmet shops are full of bottles and jars of dried herb blends: Tex-Mex blends, herbs for poultry stuffing, Cajun mixes, fines herbes, bouquet garni, herbes de Provence, the list goes on and on.  However, you can make your own herb blends.

Herb Blend Tips
When experimenting with herb blends, remember to be a little stingy; it’s easier to add more of a strong herb than to take some out.  Combine herbs that you like best and think will taste good together. Usually, combination of two or three herbs provide sufficient balance without the herb flavors clashing.

Store dried herbs in airtight containers away from strong sunlight; they’ll keep for 6 months to a year.

Use home-made blends within 4 to 6 months for best flavor.

When you use the blends, crush or bruise the herbs with your fingers to release their oils. Here are some of our favorite blends.

Texas Seasoning
Excellent on grilled meats, seafood, poultry and game, or vegetables.

Sprinkle onto roasted baby new potatoes and toss with butter.

Use in dip with sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt.

What You Need

  • 3 tablespoons dried cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons pure good-quality chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 small dried chile peppers, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Grind to desired consistency. Store in a glass jar, tightly covered, at room temperature.

Country Blend
Perfect for salads, soups, on steamed vegetables, and blended into butter for bread and biscuits.

This blend makes a terrific substitute for table salt.

Spoon onto hot baked potatoes (forget the butter and salt).

What You Need

  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 5 teaspoons dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 4 teaspoons dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil or 4 teaspoons dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 4 teaspoons dried

Combine the herbs and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Fish and Seafood Herbs
Sprinkle onto fish or seafood before baking or grilling.

Add the blend to fish soup and sauce; use for making bouillon for poaching fish and shellfish.

What You Need

  • 5 teaspoons dried basil
  • 5 teaspoons crushed fennel seed
  • 4 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon peel

Combine all herbs and store in a tightly closed glass jar at room temperature.

Pasta Blend
Excellent tossed with pasta and a little olive oil. Stir into pasta sauces; mix with chopped carrots, garlic, and tomatoes for a super stuffing for fish or flank steak.

What You Need

  • 5 tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic

Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Stuffing Blend
A basic herb mixture when making stuffing for turkey, chicken, game hens, or whole fish, this blend can be stirred into unsalted butter to use as a sauce for grilled fish or steamed vegetables.

What You Need

  • 6 tablespoons dried rubbed sage
  • 3 tablespoons dried sweet marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 4 teaspoons dried celery flakes

Combine all herbs and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Herbes de Provence
Use in omelets; stir into rice and grains.

Sprinkle lightly on meat, fish, or poultry before grilling.

Whisk into vinegar and oil and a smidgen of Dijon mustard for a sprightly vinaigrette.

What You Need

  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried sweet marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender (optional)

In a food process or blender, pulse the herbs to desired consistency. Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months.

Cajun Blend
Excellent with fish or poultry.

Sprinkle it into a baked sweet potato or over steamed vegetables.

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Combine the herbs and spices. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Fines Herbes
Season fish or poultry before cooking.

Use in omelets and scrambled egg substitute.

Sprinkle over hot vegetables.

What You Need

  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried chervil
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

Combine the herbs. Store in a tightly covered jar at room temperature.

Barbecue Blend #1
Excellent for beef, lamb, or pork.

Sprinkle over eggplant or zucchini before grilling.

What You Need

  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves, finely crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried savory

Combine the herbs. Stir in a tightly covered container at room temperature.

Barbecue Blend #2
Perfect for fish and poultry; sprinkle onto tomatoes before roasting.

Add to salad dressings made with olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinegar.

What You Need

  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 4 tablespoons dried rubbed sage
  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon peel

In a spice grinder or blender, whirl the herbs until coarsely ground. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature.

Updated on: April 14, 2011
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