- Avoid overwhelming a dish with too many seasonings, and never use two very strong herbs together. Instead, season with one strong flavor, and one milder flavor to complement the food.
- When cooking, add dried herbs early in the process, but use fresh herbs at the end for optimum flavor.
- Add herbs and spices to cold dishes several hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
- Fresh leaves should be chopped very finely. Exposing a greater number of surface cuts will allow the food to absorb more of the herb’s flavor.
- When necessary, a mortar and pestle can be kept in the kitchen to powder dry herbs.
- If doubling a recipe, you may not need to double the herbs. Use just 50% more.
- Dry herbs and spices carry more flavor than fresh. Use this guide when following a recipe: ¼ teaspoon powder = ¾ teaspoon dried = 2 teaspoons fresh
Proper storage is essential to retaining the flavor of herbs and spices.
- Dried herbs and spices should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. Storing right next to the stove, although convenient for cooking, is not the best location, because heat, air, and bright light destroy flavor.
- Store dry herbs and spices in tightly covered containers.
- Date dry herbs and spices when you buy them. Try to use them within one year.
- If you can’t smell the aroma of an herb when you rub it between your fingers, then it is time for a new supply.
- Treat fresh herbs like a bouquet of flowers: Snip the stems, stand the herbs in a glass of water, and refrigerate.
- To increase shelf life, freeze or dry fresh herbs. To freeze fresh herbs, wash and pat dry. Remove the leaves from the stems and store the leaves in a freezer bag. They can also be chopped and frozen in ice cube trays and then stored in a freezer bag.
|Basil||Italian foods (especially tomatoes, pasta, chicken, fish and shellfish)|
|Bay leaf||Bean or meat stews and soups|
|Caraway||Cooked vegetables such as beets, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, turnips and winter squash|
|Chervil||French cuisine, fish, shellfish, chicken, peas, green beans, tomatoes and salad greens|
|Chili powder||Bean or meat stews and soups|
|Chives||Sauces, soups, baked potatoes, salads, omelets, pasta, seafood and meat|
|Cilantro||Mexican, Latin American and Asian cuisine; Rice, beans, fish, shellfish, poultry, vegetables, salsas and salads|
|Cumin||Curried vegetables, poultry, fish and beans|
|Curry||Indian or southeast Asian cuisine; Lamb or meat-based dishes and soups|
|Dill (fresh)||Seafood, chicken, yogurt, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes and beets|
|Dill (seeds)||Rice and fish dishes|
|Ginger (dried)||Rick, chicken and marinades|
|Mace||Baked goods, fruit dishes, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower|
|Marjoram||Tomato-based dishes, fish, meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables|
|Oregano||Italian and Greek cuisine; Meat and poultry dishes|
|Paprika||Spanish dishes, potatoes, soups, stews, baked fish and salad dressings|
|Rosemary||Mushrooms, roasted potatoes, stuffing, ripe melon, poultry and meats (especially grilled)|
|Sage||Poultry stuffing, chicken, duck, pork, eggplant, and bean stews and soups|
|Tarragon||Chicken, veal, fish, shellfish, eggs, salad dressings, tomatoes, mushrooms and carrots|
|Thyme||Fish, shellfish, poultry, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, and summer squash|
|Tumeric||Indian cuisine; Adds color and taste to potatoes and light-colored vegetables|