Herbs: Dried vs Fresh

Monday, March 8, 2010

this is such a topic to write about. i'm sure this entry will be somewhat useful to my readers or those chef wannabes (no puns intended)

herbs derives from leaves of plant and they gives great contribution to our cooking as well as medicine. to point which is better dried or fresh is very much debatable because it depends on what type/king of cooking/dish you are making. but one thing for sure, dried herbs tends to have STRONGER flavor than fresh herbs. so when cooking, with fresh herbs we tend to have to use more; the ratio would usually be 1 table spoon of fresh herbs to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

although the type of cooking you're doing is also a major factor in determining the out come of a dish with herbs. for example; if you're cooking stews or soups or any dish that requires longer hour of cooking, add herbs in the beginning may cause lost of flavors so many cooks/chef would reasonably advice to add herbs towards the end of the cooking for maximum flavor. but if you're making chilled dish perhaps putting the herbs early is a good idea as it will slowly incorporate its flavor to the dish.

so dried or fresh? to me both are equally wonderful although dried herbs are very convenient especially to us Malaysian where fresh herbs such as tarragon, oregano, sage just to name a few are hard to find.

Fresh herbs is wonderful but i find it hard to keep it fresh for longer than a week. i suppose its due to our climate. i love fresh herb but they're expensive and hard to keep (do you have the same problem?) i remember when i was in the UK i used to keep my herbs clean (cut the stems,clean damaged leaves) and in a glass, it lasted for weeks but i can't do that here it wittered just within 2-3hours. for my love of fresh herbs i grow my own (i have anna olson to thank for that)

dried herbs are exceptionally convenient and a lot cheaper than fresh herbs. plus when you buy fresh herb you have to buy in stalk or a bunch while you only need some. and keeping it is a bitch (opps pardon my french =D )...unless you grow your own herbs then that's fine. but when buying dried herbs look for ones that still have color in it. i mean the green color on dried herbs still look fresh and not brownish. brownish herbs means 'old' or stale herbs which may have less flavor(so you won't get your money worth) if you so happen to have stale herbs, its still usable only you would probably need more than the recipe required. to release the aroma and flavor of herbs rub the dried herbs between your hands or grind them before you toss in your dish. to check if your herb is fresh when you rub with your fingers you should smell a rather strong aroma otherwise its time to throw out your stash.

so dried or fresh...i suppose its a matter of taste...

hope this entry is useful for you. happy cooking!


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