Nov 17, 2010

Herb Hints and FAQ

Herb Hints
1. Best when fresh: parsley, basil, thyme, cumin, mint, rosemary, cilantro, oregano, ginger, lemon grass, garlic.

2. Best when dried: bay leaves, tarragon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika.

3. Growing herbs indoors is easier than you might think. Basil, especially, loves a sunny window sill.

4. Prolonged cooking causes fresh herbs to lose their flavor.

5. Fresh herbs are great in breads including cornbreads, biscuits, dumplings, savory pancakes and waffles.

6. Fresh herbs can be stored in the refrigerator with their stems in water.

7. Dried herbs are good to store for approximately four to six months. Kept too long, dried herbs will loose their flavor and spices will taste stale


What is the difference between an herb and a spice?
The herb is considered the soft part of the plant, like the leaves while a spice is the hard seed, stems and bark.

Do herbs vary in their degree of flavor?
Yes, they do. Keep this in mind in how much of the herb to use and when to add it in the cooking process.

Strong herbs are added in the beginning of a recipe. They benefit from slow simmering.
Use about 1 teaspoon for 6 servings. Strong or dominant herbs include bay, cardamon, caraway, cinnamon, cloves, curry, ginger, juniper berries, hot peppers, mustard, rosemary, saffron, black sage, and whole spices.

The medium flavored herbs are added towards the end of the recipe in the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons for six servings. The herbs in this group are basil, celery seed and leaves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lemon grass, tarragon, garlic, marjoram, mint, oregano, savory, thyme and turmeric.

Delicate flavored herbs are called blending herbs, as they make other flavors work well together. Add these herbs freely just before serving. Herbs in the group are salad burnet, chervil, chives and parsley.

When when a recipe calls for dried herbs, what is the ratio of fresh to dried herbs? The ratio is to use 3 times the amount fresh herb as the amount of dried called for in the recipe.

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