The basil plant that has thrived on our windowsill since July has finally conceded defeat and given us our last few summer-seasoned meals. So sad! We’ll be dependent on our stock of dried herbs and the occasional grocery store packet of fresh herbs from here on out. Here’s how we use both to get the best flavor.
We’ll generally take fresh herbs over dried in any of our dishes, but those little packages at the grocery store can get really spendy. Still, we’re not willing to sacrifice too much flavor in our dishes!
• Dried Herbs - We find that dried herbs do the best if added during cooking so their flavor has time to infuse the whole dish. If we’re doing a soup or a braise, we’ll stir in the dried herbs right before adding the liquid and then let everything simmer for while. It also helps an enormous amount to work with good-quality dried herbs. If you open a jar and can’t smell that herb-y aroma, it’s time to replace it!
• Fresh Herbs - When we use fresh herbs, we want to make it count. We’ll use them to finish a dish, like adding thyme toward the end of cooking or sprinkling dill over the top of steamed vegetables. This way the flavors are still fresh and bright when we start serving. We also use fresh herbs in sauces, salad dressings, and other quick dishes since dried herbs wouldn’t have enough time to really infuse these kinds of dishes.
We also often use dried herbs and fresh herbs in combination. The dried herbs infuse the dish during cooking and then a sprinkle of the fresh herb at the end perks up the flavors.
When do you use dried herbs and when do you use them fresh?
Related: How to Store Fresh Herbs
(Image: Emma Christensen)