Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition in the US, an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal, typically including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. It's also a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.
For most of us, it's a four day weekend where we spend time with family or friends, eat entirely too much food, and watch football. But for many, it can be a stressful time as we scramble to get all the ingredients we need for a mega meal. And while many families have traditions, it can be fun to try new recipes.
While searching for new traditions of my own, I discovered a common theme in almost every recipe for a Thanksgiving turkey: fresh herbs. Just about every store carries fresh herbs, and it's an easy addition to your meal. So whether you grow your own, or head to the local market to buy some, here are your must-have herbs for Thanksgiving.
- Sage - Sage has a strong aroma and an earthy flavor, so it's typically used in small amounts. Even so, it's packed with a variety of essential nutrients and compounds that may reduce inflammation, assist in digestion, support memory, and brain health and is loaded with natural antioxidants.
- Rosemary - Another commonly used herb, Rosemary, has a distinctive and intense flavor that pairs well with turkey. The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties and is a source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. And while it may be beneficial for digestion, brain health, gum disease, and heartburn, its chemical composition is so similar to aspirin that it's best to avoid if you are allergic to aspirin.
- Thyme - Thyme is much more than just a flavor enhancer; it is a powerful medicinal plant. Its mild flavor compliments turkey, gravy, and vegetables. Thyme has been used for over 4,000 years and has been found to contain anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties. It is also considered a natural immune booster, which may relieve minor pain and lower blood pressure.
- Parsley - A nutritional powerhouse with vitamins A, B, C, and K and the minerals iron and potassium. This subtle, emerald green herb is popular among Hollywood insiders who want to drop water weight before a big event as it may reduce water retention and bloating (edema). It's a natural diuretic, which helps to eliminate excess fluid without depleting the body of potassium. It's a superstar of herbs!
So whether you're looking to create new traditions or update ingredients for your own family recipes, make sure you have these fresh Thanksgiving herbs on hand this year. It may just improve your health as well as satisfy your hunger.