A few weeks ago I taught a class for a group of women from church on cooking with herbs. It was a fun class to prepare for and I learned a few new things myself.
This week I will share with you some of the tips on cooking with herbs as well as a few quick and easy herb recipes that I shared at the class.
Growing herbs is easy – all you need is a nice sunny location. This can be a garden bed, a pot on your patio or a small pot on your kitchen window sill. I keep my herbs in a small raised bed in my vegetable garden area and a pot of basil on the patio.
The ladies at the class got a tour of my herb garden and a quick lesson in how to deadhead your basil!
My favorite herbs to grow are: basil (lots of basil), rosemary (this comes back every year), oregano, thyme, chives, parsley (both curly and flat leaf), and cilantro.
Here are my Top Tips for cooking with herbs:
- When substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs in a recipe a general guideline is to use 3 times as much of the fresh herb as you would use of a dried herb. When substituting, you’ll often be more successful substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs, rather than the other way around.
- Purchase herbs close to the time you plan to use them. When growing herbs in your own garden the ideal time for picking is in the morning after the dew has dried but before the sun gets hot. This helps ensure the best flavor and storage quality.
- Fresh herbs can be stored in an open or a perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator crisper drawer for a few days. Wrap woody stem herbs (thyme, rosemary) in a dry paper towel and then place in perforated plastic bag. Wrap soft stem herbs (oregano, basil) in a damp paper towel and then place in perforated plastic bag.
- Unlike dried herbs, fresh herbs are usually added toward the end in cooked dishes to preserve their flavor. Add the more delicate herbs — basil, chives, cilantro, dill leaves, parsley, marjoram and mint — a minute or two before the end of cooking or sprinkle them on the food before it’s served. The less delicate herbs, such as dill seeds, oregano, rosemary, tarragon and thyme, can be added about the last 20 minutes of cooking. Obviously, for some foods, such as breads, batters, etc., you’ll need to add herbs at the beginning of the cooking process.
Coming up next – a quick and easy herb pasta. A perfect quick meal for a summer night.
What’s your favorite herb to cook with??