Chef Dez.

On Cooking: Herbs, fresh or dried?

Dried herbs don’t last forever.

Many consumers, without herb gardens of their own, will choose to purchase dried ones more frequently than fresh due to cost and convenience.

Dried herbs are suitable for certain recipe applications, but there are just as many recipes that would benefit from fresh. Consequently, other than listening to your wallet, how should one discriminate choosing between them?

Although fresh herbs seem to offer the most flavour, they are not a necessity for all recipes. Dried herbs need time and moisture to release their flavours, and therefore are adequate in dishes that require a certain amount of cooking time to allow for this re-hydration.

Many people also use dried herbs in marinades and compound butters. Compound butters are combinations of herbs, seasonings, and flavourings combined with butter to create finishing touches to certain dishes.

A large misconception with dried herbs, however, is that they last forever. They don’t. There are steps one can take to inhibit their deterioration, like storing them in a cool dark place. But eventually they will lose their pungency.

Typically, I would suggest replacing dried herbs every eight to 12 months, if stored properly.

Dried herbs, though, are more potent than fresh ones.

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