Expert’s Guide to Fresh Herbs


(light music) – I can’t imagine cooking without fresh herbs. Not only do they make food taste better, but they also make it look better, and we do eat with our eyes. So, I divide the world of herbs into two categories, tender and hardy. Now, the tender ones have more tender stems. They also have more delicate flavor.

So, in addition to the chives and the dill, and the tarragon here on the table, that includes parsley, cilantro, mint. They have a sort of more gentle flavor, not mild, but gentle. And these herbs are also interchangeable with each other in terms of quantity. You know, if a recipe calls for two tablespoons of cilantro, you can two tablespoons of parsley.

Flavor’s totally different, but the sort of level of intensity is similar.

On this side, we’ve got the hardy herbs. They have woodier stems. It’s the sage, the oregano, the thyme, the rosemary, much more potent flavors. In addition to how much you might add to a recipe, this really impacts whether or not it’s a candidate for using in dried form. Now, while I use fresh herbs probably 98% of the time, I do occasionally use dried herbs.

The hardy herbs, the sage and the oregano, and the thyme and the rosemary, they’re candidates for drying. Their essential oils will survive the drying process. The big thing here is to use them early in a recipe. So, you wouldn’t wanna sprinkle dried sage over a plate of pasta, but you can add it to a chili, to a sauce, to a soup, to a stew, early in the process so that the herb has time to hydrate, soften, and flavor the dish. Let’s turn back to fresh herbs ’cause honestly that is really what I’m most passionate about.

And the biggest mistake that people make is the minute they walk in the door from the supermarket. Most people will just put that cilantro into the plastic bag at the supermarket, and throw it the refrigerator, and come back two days later or three days later, this is what you have.

You have a lot of rot, especially underneath these ties or the rubber bands. So, when I get home, what I do is take a little care. So, this parsley, it’s actually been in the fridge for a week and it looks beautiful.

I removed the rubber bands, I washed and dried it, and then I put it in paper towels like this parsley here, and slid it inside a zipper lock bag.

Now, you don’t need to seal the zipper lock bag. I’m actually gonna sort of leave it open because of any moisture that’s left here will continue to evaporate by leaving the bag open. Fresh herbs are expensive. So, really take the time to protect them when you get home, and that way, they’re gonna be ready when you need them.

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