Whether you are a new cook or an experienced chef, using herbs can increase the flavor of any food, and they have natural health benefits. Fresh herbs increase the flavor in food more than dried because of all the oils in the leaves. In addition, fresh herbs are full of antioxidants,
To incorporate fresh herbs into your cooking, wash them first under running water before adding to any recipe. Depending on the recipe, you can chop or leave the leaf of the fresh herb whole. The best time to add herbs for stews, soups, and vegetables is during the last 15-20 minutes of the cooking process. For the best flavor of basil, try adding it at the last minute.
Herbs can add flavor to:
- Salad dressings and vinegar
- Butter, margarine, and spreads
- Breads or desserts
- Meat, poultry, fish and eggs
- Soups and stews
Commonly Used Herbs and their Flavor
|Basil||Sweet, warm, and aromatic||Meats, seafood, vegetables|
|Cilantro||Fresh and earthy||Traditional Mexican-style dishes, meats, salads, and sauces|
|Chives||Delicate onion flavor||Maintain color and flavor and may add to baked potatoes, soups, egg dishes|
|Dill||Sweet and aromatic||Seafood, egg dishes, soups, potato salad, vegetables, or vinegar and oil dressing|
|Mint||Sweet and aromatic||Salads, sauces, and stir fry dishes. Also common in baking and beverages|
|Oregano||Savory and earthy||Meats and vegetables; complements pizza and soups|
|Parsley||Savory, aromatic, and subtle||Grilled meats, vegetables, salads, garnish|
|Rosemary||Strong and fragrant||Meats and hearty vegetables|
|Sage||Strong and aromatic||Taste best cooked, roasted poultry, stews, and casseroles|
|Thyme||Fragrant and fresh tasting||Complements other herbs like rosemary and oregano. Use with chicken, meat, seafood, hearty vegetables stews/soups|
Storing Fresh Herbs
To store herbs after harvesting or purchase, keep them in the refrigerator in a jar of water.”
If you have extra and will not be using them within the week, you can freeze or dry them for future use. For additional information Preserving herbs by freezing or drying | UMN Extension.
No fresh herbs? Do not let that stop you, dried herbs are a great substitution! Dried herbs are still flavorful and have health benefits. When substituting dried herbs in a recipe, decrease the amount by half. For example, if the recipe calls for one tablespoon of FRESH basil, substitute with ½ a tablespoon of DRIED basil.