Fresh or Dry Herbs: what’s a cook to do?

Q: Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh in a recipe?

A: Well, yes, but the truth is not really.  I believe if the recipe calls for fresh herbs use them.  The recipe was created, tested and tasted that way.  It will be better with fresh.  You are taking the time to make something fresh and delicious from scratch, use fresh herbs.  It will make the dish so much better.

I like to use fresh herbs but it takes a bit of pre-planning on what I need for the week and what dishes require which fresh herbs.  When I am making my list and deciding on the week’s menu, I consider what fresh herbs I need to purchase and plan all my dishes around that.

If I am making Whole Wheat Fettuccini with Shrimp and Spinach  (; it calls for basil, oregano and parsley.  I will be making other dishes that use those same herbs that week.   I am just trying to maximize my resources.  Sometimes it works and other times it does not.  I do have some helpful hints on when you have too many fresh herbs and what to do with them.

Most popular fresh herbs:
Basil, Cilantro, Chives, Chervil, Curly Parsley, Dill, Italian Parsley, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme.
You can find these at most major supermarkets.  There are so many varieties of mint and basil.  They can be found at a more specialty market.

The bottom line is: Dried Herbs – if you have to use them, use them but the taste and flavor is going to be different then using fresh.

Watch for my Personal Herb Flavour Chart as well as 10 Great Herb Tips coming later this month!  What’s your favourite herb?  For me it depends on the dish but I love cilantro!

Eat Well…Ellen