Flavorful Herbs

Herbs are a great way to add flavor to foods. You can plant fresh herbs, or pick them up at the grocery store. If you prefer to use dried herbs, they can easily be kept on hand to use whenever needed. Many herbs have antioxidants that may help protect against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Keep in mind that fresh and dried herbs cannot be substituted equally in a recipe. In general, one tablespoon of finely cut fresh herbs equals one teaspoon of crumbled dried herbs or ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground dried herbs. Another general guideline is to use three times as much of a fresh herb as you would use of a dried herb. You may find you have more luck when substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs instead of the other way around.

When learning to cook with herbs, you may find it helpful to begin with ¼ teaspoon of most ground spices or ground dried herbs and then adjust as needed. For cayenne pepper and garlic powder, start with 1/8 teaspoon and adjust as needed. Red pepper will intensify in flavor during cooking, so add it in small increments. When doubling a recipe, do not double spices and herbs; rather, increase amounts by 1 ½ times and add more if needed. Remember you can always add more if needed, but it is difficult to take away if you add too much.

As a general rule, add fresh herbs near the end of cooking or just before serving. Prolonged heat can cause flavor and aroma losses. More delicate herbs, such as basil, chives, cilantro, dill leaves, parsley, and mint, should be added a minute or two before the end of cooking, or sprinkle them on the food before it is served. Less delicate herbs like oregano, rosemary, thyme, and dill seeds can be added about the last 20 minutes of cooking time.

Fresh herbs can be stored in an open bag or in a perforated plastic bag. Keep them in your refrigerator crisper drawer for a few days. Kitchen scissors can be used to quickly snip many types of herbs. Experiment to find the flavors you enjoy best!

10/13/2021 3:37:03 PM
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