Herbs and Spices on our Cooking Vacations in Israel Cuisine
Israeli food Tours – Meeting with Popular Herbs in Israel
A culinary tour in Israel will inevitably acquaint you with the large selection of herbs and spices in the country. Israelis have a strong link to the local herbs and spices. This link, so enriching the present-day cuisine and every Israeli table, stems from antiquity. In those days, man was closer to Nature. In the Eastern Mediterranean, most people lived off the land. Agriculture was the main occupation and the local herbs were used both for cooking and for medicine.
The Land of Israel, the ancient homeland of the Jewish People, was blessed with many herbs. The ancient texts mention some of them such as dill and corianders, oregano and marjoram, myrtle and thyme. All of them were grown specifically for culinary and medicinal uses. The Talmud even gives precise instruction for planting and watering these herbs, so important for the local cuisine for the last 3000 years.
Cooking Vacations with Israeli Cuisine
The Israeli cuisine makes extensive use of fresh herbs. In almost every house or balcony, even in the large cities, herbs are grown to make infusions or as spices in everyday dishes.
Cooking Vacations – Meeting with popular herbs in Israel
Za'atar – Za'atar is probably the biblical “moss” mentioned since the days of King Solomon. It is closely related to oregano, marjoram and thyme. Natural medicine uses it as a well-proven disinfectant and as an aid in reducing headaches. In the kitchen, Za'atar is suitable for practically all the Middle-Eastern dishes, and upgrades even a freshly chopped vegetable salad.
Take some toast, rub a clove of garlic on the toast, sprinkle olive oil and crushed tomato and add a generous amount of Za'atar on top.
Coriander – Coriander is mentioned in the Bible from the times our forefathers went to Egypt. It is a well-known remedy for stomach aches and strengthens the heart. In the kitchen it is used, mainly fresh, in a wide variety of dishes. The chopped fresh leaves should be added just before the cooking is done.
Sage – Sage is known to be originally from the Middle East. It was brought to Europe by the Roman soldiers who conquered Palestine. Natural medicine believes it lowers the blood-pressure, helps fight the common cold and gum infections. Some even produce a perfume based on sage. In the kitchen we have to use it with care, avoid adding to much sage since its strong taste tends to dominate the dish. It's a good idea to add it to meat dishes and even to pasta with a fine sauce of olive oil, sage and garlic.
We will meet all these herbs and spices, and many more during the workshops in the cooking vacations and culinary tours and learn how to use them to make savory Israeli recipes and drinks.