The Choice between Fresh and Dried Herbs

If you were to put ten chefs in the same room at the same time and ask them to work together on one dish you are likely to witness a display of tempers flaring, pots flying and plates breaking. The one thing that chefs everywhere will likely agree on is the fact that dried herbs should be used for bonfires not food. OK, perhaps that is a harsh way to phrase it, but if you are serious about cooking and serious about the quality of your food why would you use dried up , dingy colored , unidentifiable herbs to season your food? With all the fresh and wonderful herbs now readily available why would you settle for anything less? Dried herbs were invented because there was no way to keep, and ship fresh herbs. Herbs from one part of the world to another were not available and winters were harsh. They were very expensive and dried herbs were much more affordable for the average person.

The outcome of your meal is a direct result of the quality of ingredients you put into your food. Some herbs are OK to use dry, like cumin and allspice, nutmeg ,and Cinnamon. There are many you should never use dry. Parsley is the worst! Parsley is the cheapest herb to buy and is most commonly available. Flat leave Italian parsley is the most flavorful, the curly parsley is best used as a garnish, the curly parsley’s flavor can actually bitter you food or cause it to taste more like you are chewing on a tree then eating a meal. Most stores sell parsley for less then a dollar a bunch. Parsley can be a great addition to your meal and many fresh salads can be made from it. Parsley in a bottle which is usually dried from the least expensive, oldest, flavorless parsley known to man has no place on your shelf and adds no color or flavor to your food. Basil when used fresh can be used in many different ways, and the flavor can actually change based on how you cut it. Fresh sage is great to use as a rub and rosemary is super pungent and looks great to!

Herbs are meant to add flavor and color to your food. They can brighten up your day, and the very mood of your kitchen. The other problem with dried herbs is that people hang on to them for years. They expose them to light and air and assume that because they are dry they will last forever. If you insist on using dried herbs you should store them in a dark cabinet, in airtight containers and for your food’s sake clean off that spice shelf , buy new herbs and don’t use them when there grey!

Source:

  1. Ratio of Fresh Herbs to Dry Herbs | Martha Stewart
  2. Are Sprouts Really Good For You?
  3. Choosing herbs; dried, frozen or fresh? | Examiner.com

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