For great tasting food over the cooler winter months, as well as a healthy antioxidant boost, get cooking with fresh herbs chives and ginger – the top herbs picks from www.fresh.co.nz

“The change in season comes a change in produce. Knowing what is in season makes the whole shopping, cooking and eating experience so much more enjoyable and economical. Chives and ginger are best in late Autumn and Winter and like all herbs they boost the flavour, colour and aroma of food, without the added calories, fat or sugar,” said Gourmet Garden New Zealand General Manager, Katie Youngman.

Chives are one of the ‘fine herbs’ of French cuisine and have a mild, onion-like flavour, with a hint of garlic. They are very versatile and can be used in a multitude of ways including in salads, soups, dips, dressings, soft cheeses, sour cream and with grilled meat and vegetable. For the best tasting results they should be added at the last minute to hot foods as heat reduces their flavour.

Ginger is among the oldest spices known to Europeans and has a sweet, warm taste. It’s popular in a variety of stir-fry and curry dishes, due to its sharp yet subtle flavour, as well as in marinades and chutneys. Ginger adds a zest to dishes so also makes the perfect partner for desserts such as sweets, cakes and biscuits.

“If you don’t have a herb garden we’ve made fresh herbs easy with our Gourmet Garden range of 15 fresh herbs and spices in clever tube packaging which keep up to three months in your fridge. We’ve got some great recipes and meal ideas using chives and ginger at our Herb eCooking School (visit www.gourmetgarden.com) which is hosted by top Australian chef  Dominique Rizzo,” added Katie.

Aside from enhancing the taste of everyday meals, herbs and spices are also known for their health benefits and antioxidant proprieties.

“Ginger in particular is known for its health properties. It’s been appreciated for centuries and recent research has shown it plays a role in reducing nausea, aiding digestion and relieving painful knee joints.”

Katie adds, “Researchers have found that herbs and spices are an excellent way to boost your daily antioxidant intake, helping to build your body’s defences, boost your immune system and maximise your wellbeing which is important coming into the winter months.

“Research undertaken in Australia reported that the antioxidant capacity of herbs and spices compares favorably with that of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Katie.

Gourmet Garden has 15 fresh tasting herb varieties in the Gourmet Garden range including Chives and Ginger, making using fresh herbs in everyday cooking easier than ever. Gourmet Garden herbs and spices are picked fresh, washed, chopped and sealed in unique squeezable tubes. They are not cooked or dried therefore retain their fresh flavour, texture, colour and nutritional value, including their antioxidant properties.

For other great recipes and meal ideas visit http://www.gourmetgarden.com/ or enrol now in the Herb eCooking School for everyday inspirational recipes, facts and tips from top chef  Dominique Rizzo .

CHIVE FACTS

·         Chives  have a mild flavour yet are onion-like with a hint of garlic.

·         They are one of the “fines herbes” of French cuisine which also includes tarragon, chervil and/or parsley.

·         Chives are very versatile and can be teamed with a number of other ingredients.

·         It flavours salads, soups and sauces and can be used to make flavoured dips and dressings.

·         It is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavour

·       Chives are a good source of antioxidants and contain more antioxidants per gram than most vegetables and many fruits. (2 094 umol TE per 100 grams)3.

·       Even in the relatively small amounts you would use in a recipe, Chives give your diet an antioxidant boost.

·       The natural antimicrobial properties of many herbs and spices reduce the risk of bacteria in food.

IDEAS WITH CHIVES

·       Rub chives on meat before roasting, grilling or barbequing.

·       Combine chives and lemon juice on grilled fish or meat, instead of a dollop of tartare sauce of gravy.

·       Add chives to any vegetable dish or salad to give a flavour boost.

·       Chives can be substituted in many recipes instead f garlic if you do not like garlic.

For a host of Chive inspired recipes go to http://www.gourmetgarden.com/nz/product/view/chives

GINGER FACTS

·       Ginger is high in phytonutrients including vitamins, minerals and bioactive components.

·       It can help to support the immune system through their phytonutrients.

·       It can aid in digestion via speeding up food movement from the stomach.

·       It promotes heart health by enabling high flavour, low fat, low salt cooking.

·       Its natural antimicrobial properties can reduce the risk of bacteria in food.

·       Ginger is also a great source of antioxidants containing 14 840 umol TE per 100 grams3.

IDEAS WITH GINGER

·       Add ginger to a vegetable, chicken or fish soup to give that Asian flavour.

·       Try some grated or finely slice ginger in tea, hot or iced or added to fruit juice to give a flavour and antioxidant boost.

·       Simply add a little or a lot of Gourmet Garden Ginger depending on your taste.

·       Spice up steamed vegetables by stirring through Gourmet Garden Ginger and Coriander with a dash of honey.

·       Combine Gourmet Garden Ginger and soy sauce for a tasty marinade on grilled fish

For a host of Ginger recipes go to http://www.gourmetgarden.com/nz/product/view/ginger

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