10 Tips to Ditch the Salt Shaker and to Use Herbs

<img width="200" height="224" style="margin: 5px; float: left;" alt="Basil.jpg" src="” />To live a more healthful life, think outside the box and outside the salt shaker.

While sodium is a necessary macromineral for our bodies, the current American guidelines recommend only 2400 mg. per day. If you are an avid reader of the nutritional information on food packaging, you will know that the average American can easily go over that amount.

Mayoclinic.com states that 75 percent of a typical American’s daily sodium intake comes from packaged foods, 12 percent comes from natural sources, and the balance, a whopping 13 percent is adding during cooking or eating.

One of the ways you can cut back on sodium, is to take a serious look at the amount of sodium listed on your food packaging and then make changes as necessary. You can start by switching to lower sodium versions of the pre-packaged items that you usually purchase.

Exploring your spice rack or using fresh herbs is another way to cut back on the salt while adding flavor to your food.

Here are 10 tips for using herbs and spices in your cooking:

1. Herbs have a better taste when used immediately, so only buy or pick what you know you will use the same day.

2. If using herbs from your own garden, make sure to harvest them in the morning, after the dew has dried off of them but before the sun warms them up too much. This is the time when the oil content in the plants will be the highest and therefore the flavor will be the best.

3. Store-bought whole spices should last up to 4 years and ground spices for only 2 or 3 years. The oils responsible for the flavor and aroma are released once a spice is ground, and over time the flavor will diminish. If, when you open the container, you no longer can smell the spice, it is definitely time to replace it.

4. Dried herbs will last only 1-2 years, as they are even more delicate, than ground spices.

5. For beef use bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme

6. For chicken and poultry use ginger, tarragon, rosemary, sage, thyme, cilantro, chives, basil

7. For fish use curry powder, dill, fennel, basil, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon

8. For lamb use curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint

9. For pork use caraway, cumin, curry, dill, rosemary, sage, fennel, savory and thyme

10. Click here for a listing of herbs to use with vegetables.

Have fun and cook up something wonderful for dinner tonight!