Thanksgiving is a November holiday that originated in 1621. On that day, the Native Americans and the pilgrims came together to share a meal and be thankful for what they have. This tradition continues and people get together with their loved ones to share a feast and discuss what they are thankful for.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberries and root vegetables. However, this may vary from region to region. For example, you will often find sauerkraut with the turkey in Boston, persimmon pudding is common in Indiana and crab is often a part of the dressing in the Chesapeake Bay. All Thanksgiving feasts require the use of herbs because this is what gives the different dishes their distinct holiday flavor. Regardless of where you live, you surely have traditional dishes that combine different herbs so that these family recipes taste like no one else's.
Popular Herbs for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates food and family, so you want the food to be something that the whole family enjoys. Adding a mixture of fresh herbs will punch up your dishes and make them unique. There are some herbs that are more popular than others and they work well for the traditional foods served on thanksgiving. You can find fresh herbs at your local grocery store in the produce section if you are not growing your own.
During the fall season, rosemary is one of the most popular herbs because it works for chicken, turkey, pork and beef. For Thanksgiving, you can add some fresh rosemary to butter, melt it down and then use this as a baste on the top of the turkey. You can also add rosemary to your dressing and put it in the turkey, so that the flavor occurs from the inside out. If you have some leftover fresh rosemary, add it to your table centerpiece to add a holiday scent to your home.
Sage is very popular in Thanksgiving dressing because it adds a savory and warm flavor. You can also use it as part of a rub on the outside of your turkey. If you have sweeter dishes, sage will compliment them well. Add sage to dishes that contain pork, nutmeg, cinnamon and browned butter. If you want to add a fall fragrance to your home, consider boiling a mixture of sage and rosemary on the stove.
Fennel has a licorice and herbaceous scent, as well as a very strong flavor. When it comes to your Thanksgiving dinner, this herb is ideal for your dressing, in hearty salads and as a component of dry rubs. You may also want to try the stronger fennel pollen if you want more herb flavor. The taste and aroma of this herb is more woodsy and pungent.
4. Winter Savory
Winter savory is a very versatile herb and for your Thanksgiving feast, it works well to create a centerpiece and to flavor some of your favorite dishes. This herb is ideal for light meat dishes like your turkey and it also adds a very interesting flavor to your turkey dressing. The white flowers can add a bit of brightness to your centerpiece.
Thyme is a very popular herb for turkey and it also pairs well with lemon if you want to try a lemon and thyme rub. This herb has a great lemony flavor making it ideal for your baked food options as well. You can put it into the pie crust for your pumpkin and sweet potato pies, or you can use it as a crumble topping to garnish your desserts and add some extra flavor.
Chives are rather common when it comes to holiday cooking, but most people focus on using this herb strictly as part of their turkey rub. This works well, but you can also take advantage of chives in your mashed potatoes or other potato dishes, your turkey dressing and even in the vegetables that you serve. Chives mix well with butter and cinnamon, so you can add a hint of sweetness to your yams and sweet potatoes, while also giving them a unique flavor that most people will not expect.
Mint has many uses, but most people do not think to use it for their Thanksgiving feast. Mint makes an excellent garnish, but you can also add it to your desserts to give them a little more zest. You may also consider adding mint to the drinks you serve because mint works with everything from fruit punch, to hot teas to holiday cocktails. You can also add it to your cranberry sauce for a little something extra.
Adding these seven herbs to your next Thanksgiving feast is sure to keep all of your guests talking. All of these herbs present a unique flavor that will turn any dish into something truly extraordinary. While using dried herbs works fine, fresh herbs will add more flavor and you will also have more flexibility when you use fresh herbs.