By Contributing Author: Sharon A. See
There are so many wonderful fresh herbs waiting for you at the market. I picked a few of my must have herbs to share with you. In addition to adding fresh flavor to your favorite dishes, you can drink some of these herbs too. I’ve included some recipes for making herbal teas and for adding these herbs to enhance the flavor of your favorite tea or beverages.
Pesto is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think about basil, right? But have you ever thought about drinking your basil? You can create a variety of refreshing summer drinks with basil. Here’s a recipe for basil tea that’s great hot or cold. You can even use this recipe as a base and mix it your favorite black or green tea over ice with a wedge of lemon or lime. It’s very tasty and refreshing on a hot day. Or, you can add basil to fruit infused water for a refreshing summer drink.
I find it goes especially well with watermelon or strawberry infused water. Basil is a rich source of Vitamin K, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium so no matter what food or drink you add it to your getting some really important minerals. Basil also has natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mint is one of my favorite summer herbs and another one that I love to drink. Mint is wonderful for your digestive system. Its great at soothing nausea or indigestion, can help to relieve gas and bloating, and it promotes and supports healthy digestion. This is another herb that I love to add to teas, fruit infused waters and other summer drinks. And who doesn’t enjoy a mojito or mint julep on a warm summer evening? Mint has topical medicinal benefits too. Mint can have a soothing and cooling effect on summer skin irritations like poison ivy. Try applying cold mint tea bags or a cool rag soaked in mint tea to relieve itching, and reduce redness and inflammation.
Purslane is becoming more and more common at farmers markets. It’s a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, in fact, more than any other leafy vegetable plant. Purslane is an excellent source of Vitamin A, again one of the highest among leafy greens, and it also contains Vitamin C, some B Vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. You can use purslane raw in salads and juices, cooked in soups or other dishes, or even add it to a stir fry as you would other greens. Here’s a tasty purslane potato salad recipe.
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and is considered a calming herb. It’s not typically used in foods or cooking, it’s used mostly for medicinal purposes. Lemon Balm is believed to reduce stress and anxiety and promote sleep. And like some of the others herbs I’ve mentioned, it also has digestive benefits like improving appetite and easing indigestion, gas and bloating. Making a Lemon Balm tea is an ideal way to get the health benefits associated with this herb. Here’s a tea recipe that includes other tasty herbs.
Cilantro also known as coriander is often used as a garnish for Mexican food. But cilantro has many powerful health benefits too. Add it to your green drinks and smoothies to bump up the nutrition as Cilantro is a rich source of vitamins A, C, K and B vitamins as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. It also has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. And Cilantro contains compounds which act as chelating agents that bind to toxic metals and help remove them from the body. Here is another herb that makes a great tea. Try this Ginger and Cilantro tea.
About Sharon A. See
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. And if you’d like some customized strategies for you and your family, please reach out to me. Or, if you have farmers’ market or healthy eating related topics you’d like to hear more about or questions you’d like answered, please feel free to let me know. You will find my contact information below.
Sharon A. See
Certified Holistic Health Coach
You can find me and other interesting articles, resources, and recipes on my website at www.vitalizedwellness.com.
Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vitalizedwellness.
The Monroe Farmers' Market is open June–October and offers fresh, locally-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods and hand-crafted specialty foods to Connecticut locals.