Getting to Know Herbs
Fresh herbs are wonderful, and dried herbs are wonderfully convenient. Either way, herbs can really add pizzazz to your cooking. Herbs are produced from the stems and leaves of a variety of plants, while spices can come from a plant’s roots, seeds, bark, buds, or berries.
Dried herbs have a stronger flavor than fresh herbs. So when substituting dried herbs for fresh, use just 1/3 of the amount required for fresh herbs. To get the most flavor from dried herbs, crush them briefly between your fingers before adding them to a dish.
|Basil||Pungent, sweet flavor. Available as fresh sprigs or crumbled
|Bay leaf||Strong, herbaceous taste. Sold as a whole, dried leaf.|
|Chervil||Quite aromatic, with delicate licorice-like flavor. Available
as fresh sprigs (mostly in summer) or crumbled dry.
|Chives||Delicate mild-onion flavor. Sold in thin fresh stalks, chopped,
|Cilantro or Chinese parsley||Extremely pungent and aromatic. Sold in fresh, curly-leafed
|Dill||Delicate caraway flavor. Sold in feathery, fresh bunches or as
|Marjoram||A little like oregano in taste, but much milder and sweeter.
Sold fresh or crumbled dry. An extremely versatile herb.
|Mint||Fresh scent and a sweet, pungent flavor. Most common varieties
are standard peppermint and spearmint. Sold in fresh bunches or
|Oregano||Intense flavor. Sold fresh or crumbled dry. A little goes a
|Parsley||Fresh-flavored and slightly tart. Available year-round in fresh
bunches or crumbled dry.
|Rosemary||Quite aromatic, needle-shaped leaves smell a little like lemon
and pine. Mince the leaves finely before using.
|Sage||Green-gray or purple oval leaves with a slightly bitter mint
taste. Available in fresh sprigs, crumbled dry, and ground. Use
|Savory||Full-bodied herb that some people say tastes like a cross
between mint and thyme. Fresh sprigs available seasonally. Crumbled
dry available year-round.
|Tarragon||Aromatic herb with assertive, licorice-like flavor. Sold as
fresh whole sprigs, crumbled dry, and whole dried leaves.
|Thyme||Tiny leaves with minty aroma and tealike taste. Sold as fresh
sprigs and crumbled dry. Fresh varieties include lemon, orange, and
French (the common variety).