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Old 01-21-2015, 07:28 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by mattdee1 View Post
Not sure if it's the same everywhere, but where I live, a package of fresh basil or a bunch of fresh cilantro (as 2 examples that I use often) will cost you $2-$3. Then, you bring it home and use 10%-20% of it for dinner that night.

Fresh herbs are great to work with, but they do have a rather cruddy "bang for your buck" factor unless you are able to use them up before they wilt, or at least freeze the parts you don't use. I find that freezing offers a lot of the flavor of fresh and is thus preferable (for me) to dry, but it does lose a lot in the appearance department.
If you buy a bunch of herbs with good stems on them, stand them in a jug of water and they will keep healthy for a few days. or put them in a poly bag in the fridge. They won't last indefinitely - you are not buying herbs in order to bequeath them to your grandchildren
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:33 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
...I do prefer fresh cilantro, basil and parsley, the dried versions don't have much flavor IMHO.
I find if I dry the parsley, it tastes like parsley. I don't grow my own, but I do buy a generous bunch from the store every couple of weeks. When the first sprig or two start to show like they are turning yellow, I figure the rest of the bunch can't be far behind. I'll take the bunch from the fridge, pinch off all the green leaves, then dry them on a baking sheet or two. I'll just pop them into my electric oven to hide. The air dries them perfectly without any heat. When dry, I put them into an old Parsley jar from when I did buy it once-upon-a-time.

I do keep a basil plant on the window sill. I usually use it up before it gets old or grows up.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:38 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
Dried herbs seem to work fine for me. I do prefer fresh cilantro, basil and parsley, the dried versions don't have much flavor IMHO.
+1 I agree
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:29 PM   #24
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I couldn't even tell you what dried basil tastes like. I don't think anyone else could either.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:13 PM   #25
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I couldn't even tell you what dried basil tastes like. I don't think anyone else could either.
When I first started taking notice of recipes with basil in them - way back in the '70s I bought some dried basil - yuck, didn't taste like basil at all.

Mint is the odd one. Dried mint is a completely different animal to fresh mint. Dried mint is used a lot in Middle Eastern cookery as an ingredient in it's own right, not as a substitute for fresh but they also use fresh for different purposes.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:24 PM   #26
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Going back to the title of this thread - Expensive ingredients v cooking skill.

As my Grannie used to say "A good cook can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...but a bad cook can make a sow's ear out of a silk purse". A bit of a mixed metaphor but I got her meaning
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:43 PM   #27
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I grow mint in the garden. Yes, you do need to use fresh for tabbouleh, and I think fresh is better tasting in tzatziki too. I may dry a few stems, how much can you stuff in a little herb jar? Not enough. Use a bigger storage jar/ or---> open a mint tea bag and use as much as you need.

I think one of the best ways for me to make savings these days is to buy family size meat packs or buy at Costco and break down the pkgs into serving sizes and freeze. Also I look for reduced prices on meat pkgs that are close to their "sell by" dates. I saw/ didn't buy/ one ribeye the other day for ~$16, on the next shelf down were 2 ribeyes same weights, for $6.

Buy bacon ends and pieces from a butcher if there is one in your community.

I buy larger size packages of frozen veggies and just pull out a serving amount at a time. I wish those packs came with zip lock bags. But it's not really a bother to transfer to a large zip lock bag of my own. You can rinse and re-use.
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Old 02-01-2015, 03:07 PM   #28
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Here's one way to preserve herbs. A friend gave me a jar that her mom did--it is fantastic when added to vegetable soup stock. I definitely will give this a try when the snow is gone and summer returns. I grow a lot of herbs in pots during the winter. I started Thai basil and cilantro a couple of weeks ago to get me through the winter. Here's one way to preserve herbs in salt:


Herbes Salťes (Salt Herb Preserve) - Recipe and How-To - WellPreserved.ca
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