Five Herbs Used in Traditional Romanian Cuisine

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Used as seasoning in salads and cooked dishes to add flavor or to complete the taste, herbs are always present in Romanian cuisine. Who could ever conceive a Romanian soup cooked by the book without a handful of freshly chopped parsley or lovage sprinkled over the flavored vegetables?

In the Romanian cuisine parsley, dill, lovage, thyme and celery leaves prevail. Besides strong flavors, they have an entire arsenal of vitamins and minerals that help the immune system at any age. In addition, they are easy to find at any stall in the market and can be grown in pots, so you can always have fresh herbs for your dish.

Parsley is a true collection of vitamins and minerals and the most requested plant in the household. It can be used in various food combinations, from simple salads to broths, soups, stews and side dishes, with a fresh and intense flavor. In hot foods, it must be added after the finishing of the cooking, for keeping the content of vitamins, with a lot of excellent therapeutic effects.

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Rich in calcium, vitamins A and C, iron, copper and phosphorus, parsley – fresh or dried – strengthens the immune system, especially after the season changes, stimulates digestion and endocrine glands and prevents colds, depression and allergies. It is also a good detoxifier and the chewed leaves can freshen your breath.

Parsley and parsley juice help stabilizing the blood sugar levels by adjusting the insulin secretion. So, if you experience difficulty in concentrating, headaches and dizziness, accompanied by the need of eating something sweet, all symptoms of hypoglycemia, do not hesitate to drink a glass of carrot juice with parsley and lemon.

Dill is an important source of vitamin C, fiber and minerals. It is said that the dill herb is a feminine plant, because it contains phytoestrogens that adjusts the endocrine balance, being indicated in women’s menopause.

Added every day to cooked food, dill is both a seasoning and an excellent preservative. It is mainly used in gaskets and stews, in cream cheese, salad and pickles, sauces and fish for its unmistakable flavor, but also because it prolongs the period of validity with at least 24 hours, because of its volatile oil prevents the onset of fermentation processes.

Lovage – In Romanian culinary tradition, lovage is seen exclusively as an ingredient of soups, rarely added in potato side dishes. In order to not lose its therapeutic properties, it must be added at the end of the cooking process.

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Lovage can be a good drug, diuretic and detoxifier and is used to prevent respiratory and urinary infections and lower blood pressure. Also, lovage is among the few herbs and spices that can replace the salt, in terms of taste.

Celery leaf has a very strong flavor and is particularly suitable for soups and salads, but it also enriches the taste of sandwiches, pickles, sauces or stews. Among the health benefits of celery there are the low blood pressure, the urine output and the improvement of appetite.

Thyme is a woody aromatic plant, slightly bitter, recommended to be used as a dry twig, simmered, to develop flavor. It is mostly used in dishes of beans, lentils, cabbage, cabbage rolls, pork or venison dishes and pickles. It is known as efficient in fighting coughs and asthma.

Less used in traditional Romanian dishes, but often found in Romanians kitchens are fresh basil, tarragon, sage, rosemary and oregano, mostly used as seasoning in stews and roasts. Many of these herbs have strong flavors and should be sparingly used, added after the food has been cooked and taken from the fire, so they can retain their vitamins and flavor.

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