CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 6…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Aromatic LeavesPart 6.

Why am I looking at aromatic leaves?… as a foodie I am always searching for new recipes…many recipes especially Asian ones make use of aromatic leaves which are different from the regular much-used soft-leafed herbs like coriander and mint etc…

Many leaves that are native to other countries are now finding their way around the world either dried or frozen… I think that is great as we can widen our cooking repertoire and experience other flavours…some of which we may not like and others which may become a staple in our spice collection…

Foraging is an age-old tradition that is very prevalent here and moreso now around the world in recent years as people realise just how beneficial to our health and well-being foraged greens can be…and why waste a natural resource as food shortages hit us harder we may need to rely on foraging more often…

Foraging is also a wonderful way to explore nature, conserve ecosystems, and enrich your diet, but it is vital to know which plants are edible and which plants will send you to the emergency room and always remember to wash them thoroughly… If you are a beginner at foraging like me, it’s best to start foraging under the guidance of an experienced outdoorsman/woman with extensive knowledge of local plant life…I have my DIL and a Thai friend who are both very knowledgeable and if in doubt, let the plant be and raid your garden instead until you have the knowledge to be safe…

This first leaf I again discovered quite by chance…Chayote, (Sechium edule), also called vegetable pear, mirliton, or chocho, is a perennial vine of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), cultivated for its edible fruits…however, the bonus is the leaves are also edible they can be eaten raw but are best suited for cooked dishes by boiling, stir-frying, baking, steaming, and sautéing. They are commonly added to salads, soups, and chop suey. They can also be sautéed or stir-fried as a vegetable side dish or combined with other ingredients and made into dumplings…

The chayote fruit was given to me by the lady I buy my vegetables from she always gives me a little extra something to try and the other day it was one of these Chayote vegetables that I always see but have never tried…belonging to the gourd family the chayote vegetable is also known as mirliton or choko…

On researching the Chanote which is native to Mexico but also grown around Asia O recognised the leaves as ones I have seen on the fresh markets and discovered that they are also edible and popular for adding to stir-fries, sautéed and used in many other ways…

I absolutely love it when I come across something quite by chance…I discovered however the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The plant’s tubers are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often added to salads and stir-fries, especially in Asia…Wow, who knew… certainly not me and this little gem of info was all down to my vegetable lady giving me a chayote vegetable to try… the rest is history(and) my curious mind.

Scent Leaf…African Basil…when I started this mini-series on aromatic leaves I thought I might get 2 or 3 posts at a push out of the subject before I moved on to roots…and then it got more interesting the more I researched and learnt …I like many of you use basil… it’s used all over Europe to top pizzas and other dishes, to make pesto and spag bol…fresh basil is the one to use…then I discovered Thai basil totally different flavour profile and is equally as delicious as all the basil varieties I have used and cooked with …Thai Basil is the most highly scented of the basil family…

All vary and have their own unique flavour profile and you can see why it is called “scent leaf”…my latest discovery is African Blue Basil…used as a garnish, for making pesto or chimichurri, salad dressings or dips…not only is it known as scent leaf but clove basil and in Hawaii wild basil…

Mitsuba Japanese Parsley…Parsley also comes in a few different varieties and flavour profiles…It looks like flat-leaf parsley, has a clean “green” flavour like parsley, belongs to the same family as parsley and is sometimes called wild Japanese parsley, but mitsuba has its own distinct flavour profile and is often used in Japanese and Chinese cooking.

Mitsuba means “three leaves” in Japanese and refers to the way the leaves grow on tall, skinny stems …Mitsuba is usually added to soups, salads, and stir-fries, and often raw since heat tends to bring out its bitterness (or degrade the flavour altogether). The leaves and stems can be chopped to use fresh, but the roots and seeds of mitsuba are also edible…

Thank you for joining me today my aim is to bring ingredients to you that you may not have used before or heard of but may be available where you live either dried or frozen or maybe some small speciality growers may produce them or they could have been foraged..that’s why it’s good to make friends with your local greengrocer or growers or if there are any local groups who go foraging that you can join it all helps as I find here that by me sharing my excesses or jars of jams or pickles I get gifted back and it all increases my knowledge of produce so it’s win-win all around..it all makes cooking more fun and enjoyable and we should know our veggies and their uses…

I look forward to your comments as always and hope to see you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets…xx

15 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 6…

  1. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    We use a lot of basil in cooking and we do have a good selection of other fresh pots of herbs in the supermarkets and nurseries. They do add a lovely aroma as they continue to grow on the windowsill in the kitchen so a double benefit.. thanks for the introduction to the Japanese Parsley and it should grow here I would think will look out for the seeds. ♥

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  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 25th September -1st October 2022-Monday Musings, Mushroom Lasagne with 40 cloves of garlic, Health, Morbid Obesity, Aromatic Leaves…Scent Leaves…and Saturday Snippets where “Rain” is my one word prompt. | Retired? No

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I certainly didn’t in the beginning, Jacqui.. I’m pleased you find it interesting.. I might get a part 7..if not it will be edible roots.. 😀 x

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  3. alexcraigie

    These were new to me! I grow three different kinds of basil but have never heard of this one. Chayote sounds like a seriously useful vegetable – but I suspect I’m not going to find it in Pembrikeshire, yet! xx

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    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Yes it seems it is, Trish.. Thanks to my veg lady.. I have a new vegetable… Wow 3 and are they all different flavour profiles.. is one 🍋.. Just had a quick google and apparently Asda sell Chayote xx

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      1. alexcraigie

        One is regular, another is Isabella and the third was given to me by one of our daughters and I can’t remember the name but it’s quite distinct to the other two – I’d go and check the label but we’re in the middle of a downpour from the tail end of Hurricane Ian. I’m staying indoors! We do have a local Asda but it’s a fairly small one. I’ll definitely be checking it out when I can ! xx

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  4. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 6… – MobsterTiger

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