Bay-Laurus nobilis-A strong aromatic scent and spicy flavor. A delicious addition to soups, stews, and poaching liquids. A crown of laurel leaves was the greatest honor bestowed on great ancient Greek athletes, warriors, heroes, and poets.
Dittany of Crete-Origanum dictamnus-Grows wild in the mountains of Crete and is widely cultivated on the island. Although related to oregano, it has a sharper scent and flavor. Dittany can be used in place of oregano in most dishes for its own uniquely spicy taste. Dittany has been used for its healing and aphrodisiac qualities. Stories still abound claiming that wounded animals pluck it from the mountainsides to cure themselves.
Greek Oregano-Origanum vulgare-Peppery, zesty flavor suggestive of thyme and sage. The most widely used herb in Greek cooking; a classic in salads. Sprinkle it on
vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish with olive oil and lemon juice. It will brighten up any pizza. Oregano is derived from the Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy), meaning “joy of the mountain.” Oregano was thought to manifest happiness, and was woven into garlands for betrothed couples to wear and also planted on graves for happiness in the afterlife.
Mint-Mentha spp.-Many varieties grow wild in Greece, including spearmint and peppermint. Has a sweet, cooling taste. Add to salad greens, fruit salads, and warm and cold teas. Also delicious blended with yogurt and cucumber. The ancient Greeks used fresh mint to scent their bathing water and dinner tables. Mint tea is also prized as a remedy for indigestion and stomach problems.
Parsley-Petroselinum crispum-Large, flat-leafed Mediterranean parsley grows abundantly in Greece and has an exceptionally mellow and sweet full flavor. Parsley enhances individual flavors without overwhelming them, and for that reason is central to everyday Greek cooking. Excellent for adding to fresh salads, soups, vegetable dishes, and stews. Garlands of parsley were used as prizes in ancient Greek public games and as grave decorations.
Thyme-Thymus vulgaris-Has a woodsy, slightly peppery taste. The stony hillsides of Greece are covered with wild thyme, filling the air with its distinctive perfume. Complements fish, poultry, meat, and vegetable dishes. Wild Greek thyme is famous for flavoring the delicious honey of Mount Hymettos. Name is derived from the Greek word thymon, which means courageous. The ancient Greeks’ noblest compliment was to say that a person smelled like thyme.
|Herb garden in Greece|