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Things to do in Lisbon: Visit an Organic Herbs Farm

Aromatic plants or herbs are plants, usually of small dimensions, whose leaves and other green parts usually the leaves, give off aromas that modify extraordinarily our cuisine enriching the food, not only with its smell but also with its flavor.

Usually, in the kitchen, herbs are used fresh, but are also commercialized dried, although they lose some properties. In any case, they should not be confused with spices, which are generally used dried and often reduced to powder.

The herbs have been used since time immemorial and, according to some researchers, have followed the migrations and the evolution of the people who used them, including protecting their health, due to their antimicrobial properties that not only prevent some infections, but also deterioration of fresh food. In addition, many of these plants have medicinal properties, mainly in the facilitation of the digestive processes. However, to maintain their properties, the herbs should only be added to the food at the end of its preparation, since the heat harms them.

Most of the green herbs still used today come from the Mediterranean region.

Aromatic Plants – Teas, Infusions and Tisanes

They are also often used in teas, infusions and herbal teas, in phytotherapy and in aromatherapy.

Tea – Normally we should only call tea to the mixtures that contain leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis. That is: black tea, green and oolong. White tea has been added to this classification recently.

Infusion – all other drinks made from the immersion of leaves, flowers and fruit in hot water, with the intention of extracting them active substances.

Tisane – is an infusion in which medicinal herbs are added to boiling water for five or six minutes in a covered container. After this time the container is removed from the heat, allowing to rest (still covered) for about 15 minutes.

Phytotherapy – is a therapeutic method that uses plants, more precisely its active part. It acts in depth without attacking the organism, stimulating its defenses.

Aromatherapy – is a therapeutic practice based on the effect of the aromas of plants on the organism. It explores the use of 100% natural essential oils, for prevention or treatment, in order to provide the general well-being of the human being.

Aromatic Plants – Cooking

In cooking, it is preferable to use fresh herbs except oregano and rosemary, since their aromas are more intense when dried. Thyme, as well as laurel, can be used in both ways.

They do not have to be served only with fish or meat but also in omelets, pâtés, yogurt, butter or mayonnaise sauce. In salads, potatoes, carrots, with cheese, tofu, risottos and pasta. In short, following our criteria in the kitchen.

The most used in Mediterranean cuisine are:

Rosemary – Good for marinades, game, pig, rabbit and sausages. As infusion relieves headaches.

Dill  salmon, potatoes, sauces, stews, soups and pickles.

Chives – for egg and cheese dishes, tomato soups, salads. Aromatize well vinaigrettes and yogurt sauces. Must be added before serving.

Coriander – the most used in Alentejo cuisine. Good for soups, salads, sauces, stews. Stems and roots can be used in stews and soups and should be removed before serving.

Fennel – the bulb is edible and should be chosen hard, white, rounded and without blemishes. Aroma slightly sweet like anise. Salads, potatoes, rice and pasta.

Mint – soups, peas, canjas, lamb, fresh fruits and natural juices. Infused helps the digestive process.

Blonde – fresh or dried. Good for fish, game, vegetables and beans.

Basil – Aromatizes the olive oil. To be added to the tomato, par excellence.

Oregano – egg and cheese dishes, chicken, vegetables, salads.

Poejo – Very used in the Alentejo cuisine in açordas, fish and stewed meats. It is also appreciated as a liquor.

Salsa – the most used in cooking, gives everything and is very depurative.

Salvia – tomato, garlic and olive oil. Good for fatty meats like pork, duck and liver.

Thyme – use very carefully as its taste is very strong. Good for stews, stews, fish, chicken, lamb and eggs. Aromatize the olive oil and vinegar.

What to do in Lisbon? Let´s book an Organic Herbs Experience!

You will arrive at the organic herbs farm and we will introduce you to the farmer. He will tell you the story of the farm. After the presentation, you will walk through the farm to see the herbs, and all the special techniques for harvesting herbs, and learning about all plants benefits. The farmer will teach you how to taste an infusion and explain what makes good herbs – and what makes the bad stuff too. After we go to the drying warehouse to see how do they dry the herbs to the final product. We will end the experience with a visit to the salinas of Rio Maior.

You will end this day with a wealth of knowledge about production techniques, history, and the freshness, intensity, and variety that high-quality herbs can offer.

Location: Rio Maior (45 min from Lisbon)

Duration: 4 hours   Number of persons: 2 to 20 people

Our experience will include:

  • Arrival to the farm and welcome by the producer
  • Guided tour of the farm
  • Cutting and harvesting experience
  • Infusion test
  • Visit to the drying warehouse

Extras:

  • Transportation from Lisbon

Producer

Our farmer produces biological aromatic herbs in a field of 4 hectares, among several varieties, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, peppermint and common mint. The dedication and care is constant, ensuring the quality of plants and growth with the best conditions, allowing healthy and balanced crops, without chemicals and additives.

Lemon thyme and lemon verbena

Lemon thyme, is a perennial garden that has been employed since ancient times for medicinal and culinary uses. Thyme has traditionally been associated with courage, with medieval woman giving sprigs of thyme to knights going into battle. It also been used as an herbal remedy for a host of aliments, rich in volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols and flavonoids, is a healthy beverage choice.

Lemon verbena, has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It is particularly beneficial for the digestive system, where it helps with conditions like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bloating and cramps. It also helps with constipation, diarrhea and colon irritability.

Lemon balm and peppermint

Lemon balm, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion, including gas and bloating, as well as colic.

Peppermint, is a delicious and refreshing way to boost your overall health in a number of ways due to its ability to improve digestion, reduce pain, eliminate inflammation, relax the body and mind, cure bad breath, aid in weight loss and boost the immune system.

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