No BYH to those who have been slamming the US mail, which will presently deliver a document to Alaska or Hawaii for .50...

Using herbs to season your food


Kathy Kolasa


Kathy Kolasa

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Q: I am trying to use less salt in my food. I have never cooked with fresh herbs. How do you use them and store them? — W.H., Greenville

A: Most of us get more salt than we need. The new blood pressure guidelines encourage us to follow the DASH diet, increase our potassium and decrease our sodium or salt intake. Yenssi Williams, a senior ECU dietetic student, wanted to tell you about using herbs to season your food. Here is what she has to say.

For many, salt is the basis of seasoning that gives our favorite foods delicious flavor. Besides being flavorful, salt is inexpensive, convenient, universal, beneficial to our health and long-lasting. While sodium is important in our diet, consuming too much of it can have negative effects on blood pressure and can lead to excess fluid in the body.

It is well established that reducing salt can help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk for many chronic diseases like heart disease. So what are the alternatives to using salt to flavor food?

One answer to that question is dried and fresh herbs. Dried herbs can be in the form of a powder or the dried plant itself. Dried herbs have a stronger taste and aroma because flavors are more concentrated than fresh herbs, but they get the job done with a smaller amount. At the same time, natural, fresh herbs contain the original form of the plant. Both can be found in grocery stores and farmers markets. You can easily grow some fresh herbs at home.

Many herbs contain polyphenol or micronutrients that may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Since you rarely eat herbs by themselves, the benefits of herbs depend on how often you consume them, how your body absorbs them, how you cook and prepare them and how other foods impact properties of herbs.

The degree of bioavailability, or the rate at which a substance is absorbed in the body, solely depends on the person. There is no amount that can provide the same advantages to everyone, but consuming fresh herbs provides more benefits than drawbacks. One disadvantage to using fresh herbs is that they can go bad quickly.

Get the most out of fresh herbs by first disposing of discolored or wilted leaves and making sure your herbs are dry or moisture-free. Next, cut stems of herbs diagonally and place them in a jar filled with water touching the stem ends of herbs. When the water begins to discolor, change it. Different herbs last longer in various conditions. For example, cilantro works well in refrigerated temperatures, while basil is better at room temperature. Whether refrigerated or room temperature, herbs need to be covered with a plastic bag that still allows air to circulate in and out of the jar. To prevent freezing, store herbs in the warmest area of the fridge. You can also store herbs in an open container or plastic bag or freeze fresh herbs into ice cubes.

Once it is time to start cooking, there are various methods for incorporating fresh herbs in a dish. For example, rosemary is an herb that can be added onto raw meat before cooking. Equally important, to prevent flavor loss, herbs can be added at the end of the cooking time. It is best to add the herbs slowly into the dish until the flavor is perfect for you. You might want to try adding cilantro to rice; flavoring olive oil with rosemary; adding thyme to roasted vegetables; mixing mint in your mojitos (a cocktail of rum, lime juice, sugar and soda water).

The vibrant colors, sodium-reducing, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive properties of herbs make all the difference in cooking. Whether it is basil in a pesto sauce, cilantro on top of carne asada tacos (common Mexican dish with corn tortillas and grilled flank steak) or chives on top of a baked potato — incorporating herbs into your diet provides delicious dishes with a range of health advantages.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and Ph.D., is an Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


September 23, 2018

There was a time when Brunswick stew was a restaurant favorite in eastern North Carolina, especially in barbecue restaurants.

I’m saddened to say that the quality of the stew in several popular eastern barbecue joints has been in a downward spiral during the past couple of decades. Without…

Bob Garner

September 23, 2018

Like all North Carolinians, I am worrying about the flooding causing heart-rending damage throughout our state following Hurricane Florence.

I have a special worry. It is about a puppy in Kinston.

Would the floods from Hurricane Florence put that puppy out of business in the same way that Hurricane…


September 22, 2018

As hurricane Florence made its landfall last week, it left the Greenville area relatively spared, thankfully. But what did this hurricane mean for our garden or landscape plants? Landscape and garden plants can suffer from “wet feet” due to all the water we received, even if you are not…

Eric Derstine

September 21, 2018


In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, several area events have been postponed or canceled.

Games Meet Art

The Greenville Museum of Art has canceled Saturday’s Games Meet Art event. No new date has been scheduled. Call 758-1946, email info@gmoa.org or visit gmoa.org for more…

September 21, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN — A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life. (1 hour, 44 minutes) Rated PG.



September 21, 2018

Q My 15-year-old son and his stepmom, my wife of eight years, have developed such a contentious relationship that I don’t know what to do anymore. He’s not a bad kid but has a history of lying about grades, schoolwork and some really silly things like cleaning his room.

I’ve been…

Carolyn Hax

September 21, 2018


Magnolia Arts Center, 1703 E. 14th St., will have auditions for “Elf Jr: The Musical” from 6-8 p.m. today and 3-6 p.m. Sunday. Ages 18 and younger are eligible to audition. Visit magnoliaartscenter.com to review the script or for more information.


The Greenville Museum of…

September 21, 2018

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival will begin its 19th season with concerts on Thursday and Sept. 28. Here are highlights of the festival:

Greenville Concert Season

■ Season Opening Extravaganza: 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Sept. 28, A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

■ The Miraculous Bartok:…

September 21, 2018

The 19th season of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival will feature internationally acclaimed artists that include a Grammy Award-winning soloist, musicians who have performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and faculty from the country's most prestigious music schools.

And that is just for…


September 19, 2018

The Leroy James Farmers Market vendor of the week is Nooherooka Natural.

Nooherooka Natural is dedicated to providing quality beef and pork products throughout North Carolina and exhibiting good practices and stewardship for the earth while humanely caring for its livestock. Nooherooka Natural is a…

273 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 28
        Next Page»   Last Page»