As recession bites, 44% of us are eating out less, and in a bid to keep home cooking exciting a quarter of us are now using more herbs and spices than we did a year ago.
New research by market-leading spice supplier Schwartz shows that sales of dried herbs and spices are up 11.7% on this time last year, with four in 10 people experimenting with new flavours in food.
Basil, often associated with Italian cooking, is the nation’s favourite, followed by oregano, curry, cinnamon and ginger.
Apart from the taste benefits of herbs and spices, nutritionists say they also have advantages for health.
Says Nigel Denby, television nutritionist and dietician: “Including certain herbs and spices in our cooking is a great way to increase our intake of antioxidants. Research suggests that when used with fruit and vegetables, the antioxidant properties of these foods can be enhanced.
“Natural, convenient and low-calorie, they’re also a sensible alternative to sugar and salt and therefore really complement a healthy balanced diet.”