Using Fresh & Dried Herbs Friday, June 06 2014
Herbs help transform your favorite foods into delicious meals and offer tons of health benefits, making them essential ingredients in your culinary arsenal. Get acquainted with the best applications for both dried and fresh herbs to maximize flavor and become a bonafide herbivore!
When should I use dried herbs?
Dried herbs do well in recipes with long cook times and are best when combined with oil or water. This gives them proper time to rehydrate and infuse the dish with flavor. Incorporate them near the beginning or middle of the cooking process, and crush dried herbs either with a mortar and pestle or with your fingers before adding to wake them up a bit. When cooking a soup or braise, toss in dried herbs right before adding the liquid and let simmer. Heartier herbs, like thyme, rosemary and oregano, tend to retain very good flavor in dried form. However, soft, tender herbs, like basil, easily lose their gusto when dried and should be used fresh whenever possible.
When should I use fresh herbs?
Fresh herbs are best used at the end of the cooking process. This helps to retain their vibrant, fresh flavor and also makes for a beautiful presentation. In most applications, fresh herbs are generally preferred over the dried form, but depending on climate, budget and availability, dried can be substituted for fresh.
How do I substitute fresh and dried herbs?
Dried herbs have a concentrated flavor, so always use less than fresh herbs. As a general rule of thumb, dried herbs can be substituted for fresh herbs at a 1 to 3 ratio. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of rosemary, you would want to use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary. As you cook, taste your dish frequently and add additional spices and herbs as needed.
How should I store my dried herbs?
Always use high-quality dried herbs for optimal freshness and store them in airtight containers in a dark, cool location. If your herbs lack aroma when you open the jar, it’s time to replace them with new ones. We recommend buying dried herbs in small amounts to retain maximum flavor.
Do you have any additional advice for using dried and fresh spices? Share your experiences, recipes and tips below.
Need to build your essential dried herb collection? Get started with our Herbivore Gift Box, featuring organic basil, organic herbs de provence, organic marjoram, organic oregano, organic rosemary and organic thyme.