There are many different kinds of vegetables out there – green veggies, such as broccoli and kale, root veggies, such as potatoes and beets, and aromatics, such as garlic, onion, and ginger. If you’re wondering why these aromatic vegetables are so important (aside from how wonderful they can make a dish taste), and whether or not you should add them to your regular cooking regime, here are a few things that you might find great to know!
What Vegetables are Aromatics?
There are many different types of vegetables in the aromatics category, and chances are high that you have cooked with them plenty of times before, taking in their delicious smells, and you might not have even known they were called aromatics. So what are some of these vegetables? Here is a brief list:
- Bell Peppers
What Makes A Vegetable Aromatic?
An aromatic vegetable is a vegetable that can be cooked, crushed, or heated, and develops a deep, robust scent or flavor. These types of vegetables give dishes signature smells – for example, if you’ve ever roasted a chicken in the oven, you might have smelled strong garlic and onion scents coming from the kitchen. If you’ve made homemade soups, perhaps you’ve smelled the same. Have you ever fried up some bell peppers and onions to create a dish, or used ginger in a sauce for your food? Chances are, you’ve used these aromatic vegetables, and they probably created a happy, healthy mindset for you as you cooked!
How to Use Aromatics In Cooking
If you are looking to create more dishes using aromatics, whether they are ones that you have already tried or if you want to vamp up your recipe collection with new ideas, there are a few things to take into consideration when planning on cooking with these special veggies.
First, it is important to remember that to really enjoy the full benefits of cooking with aromatics, you should not load them up with oil or other cooking fats before cooking them. Sure, you can sauté them in a little olive oil if you are cooking them on their own, but you don’t need to overload them, as it can take away from their benefits.\
It is also important to remember that if you are cooking with aromatics, it always works best to use fresh aromatics, instead of frozen. While frozen can work well for certain recipes, you will get the full flavor and smells from aromatics that are fresh, as they will not be nearly as moist during cooking.
What Are The Benefits?
Each aromatic has benefits that are wonderful to reap, and aside from helping you get into a happy, healthy cooking headspace, they do offer nutritional benefits, as well.
If you’re curious about how aromatics can help you get into a happy headspace while cooking, think back to a time in your life when you were gathered around a meal with family – remember how wonderful everything smelled? These types of smells can bring you back to those special times, as well as create new memories, just by smelling the food you are cooking. Also important is the fact that because these foods smell so wonderful while cooking, it can actually help to boost your mood and look forward to mealtimes. Another added benefit is that if you are cooking aromatics, chances are you are cooking healthy meals from scratch, allowing you to avoid the processed food that causes cancers, obesity, and other health issues.
The first and probably most popular aromatic, garlic, is also one of the strongest smelling of the group. Garlic is great to eat both cooked and raw, and can add a lot of flavor to any food. Garlic has been known to help prevent some cancers, such as stomach cancer, when eaten regularly, and might also help lower cholesterol.
Onions are also a popular aromatic – they go well in most savory dishes, and can even be eaten raw and still smell and taste wonderful. Along with high amounts of vitamin C, they have also been known to fight off various cancers and promote healthy digestive functions.
Ginger is used in a lot of Asian dishes, and is gaining popularity in American dishes, as well. This almost sweet scented aromatic is full of vitamin C, and is known for how well it can eliminate nausea. This aromatic might be a great choice for expecting mothers, and many obstetricians will recommend ginger tea in pregnancy.
Peppers are full of vitamin C and are great for immune system health, as well as smelling delicious in fajitas, stir-fry dishes, and salads. These veggies are perfect for adding a little color to your dishes, as there are multiple, with green, red, orange, and yellow being the most popular. Some of them are sweeter than others, and can compliment meats and other vegetables quite well.
Carrots and celery aren’t just for homemade soups – although they can be spectacular flavor boosters when added to a pot! Celery is full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and lots of potassium, as well as being known for being a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Carrots have fiber and vitamin B6, and when cooked, they will give off plenty of beta carotene, which will allow your body to better benefit from these nutrients.
Now that you have read about some of the delicious ways that aromatics can help benefit your body as well as your mood, it’s a great time to try out some of these wonderful additions next time you cook. Try adding a favorite to a new dish, or think up something new that you aren’t sure about, allowing you to try something completely different.