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Old 05-21-2012, 01:14 AM   #21
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Typically, what are referred to as "Fines Herbs" can be eaten raw, simply chiffonade, and toss into the mix. They tend to be lighter, and not as pungent. Also, easier on the digestive track.

Basil, Chervil, Lemon Balm, oregano, Thyme, Tarragon, marjoram, Parsley, Cilantro, chive, and I am sure I am missing a few can all be used fresh, and tossed into leafy greens as an enhancer.

A good rule of thumb: Fresh Herbs to finish, Dried herbs to start, meaning if you are using dried herbs, you add them while cooking to re-hydrate a bit, and wake up the bouquet. Fresh are added at the end as a garnish, and as something to awaken your sense of smell.

If it looks tough and woody, like rosemary/whole sprigs of thyme/sage, think cooking. If it is light, and leafy, think finishing. . . except bay leaves. . don't eat fresh bay leaves, lol.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:18 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
No, that is just completely wrong. As I type this I'm trying to come up with an example of a dried spice that cannot be used uncooked
Dried parsley. Almost every Chain Italian place under the sun uses it as garnish for the rim of a plate, of a sprinkle over bland looking pasta(like Fettuccine Alfredo). I want to slap whoever instilled this idea, but, it happens, and is common. Same with Oregano on "Garlic Bread". Many nincompoops seem to think that using dried oregano is fine as is.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:29 AM   #23
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If it looks tough and woody, like rosemary/whole sprigs of thyme/sage, think cooking. If it is light, and leafy, think finishing. . . except bay leaves. . don't eat fresh bay leaves, lol.
Because I have a potted bay tree (out in the summer, in during the winter months), I always use fresh bay leaves. I tend to use the same number as one would use re: dry bay leaves. I have not been able to find any information on the pros and cons re: fresh bay vs. dried. Anyone?
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:26 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Because I have a potted bay tree (out in the summer, in during the winter months), I always use fresh bay leaves. I tend to use the same number as one would use re: dry bay leaves. I have not been able to find any information on the pros and cons re: fresh bay vs. dried. Anyone?
They are just WAY powerful, that's why they are just used to perfume foods. Also, I know with the dry ones, legend has it they will really do a number on your guts.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Because I have a potted bay tree (out in the summer, in during the winter months), I always use fresh bay leaves. I tend to use the same number as one would use re: dry bay leaves. I have not been able to find any information on the pros and cons re: fresh bay vs. dried. Anyone?
When we bought our house and started our herb garden over 20 years ago, a friend gave me this book - "The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs." Our bay tree is now about 15 feet tall.

About bay leaves, the book says to use them dried, but within a few days of drying, to obtain optimal flavor. It also says that traditionally it was used to infuse hot water to make a tea to improve digestion and stimulate the appetite.

I really love this book for information about herbs. It has large photos of all the parts (stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, roots, etc.), culinary and medicinal information, and how to cultivate and harvest them. It also has sample garden designs and crafts using herbs.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:45 PM   #26
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Most herbs are fresh or dried leaves and stalks of plants. Dried herbs need to be rehydrated to release their flavor.
I think this is a key phrase that was overlooked in this thread.

Dried herbs are merely the dried version of their fresh counterparts. They only need to be rehydrated with liquid. For salads, that liquid is the dressing. I always add dried herbs to the dressing, then let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two so the herbs are reconstituted and the flavors can develop.

On the other hand, fresh leafy herbs like basil, cilantro, or parsley can be chopped and added directly to the salad greens.

With woody herbs like rosemary or thyme, before adding them to dressing I grind them in a small mortar and pestle to break them down and release the oils that contain the flavor.

If you want to add spices like cumin or chipotle to a dressing, one trick is to very gently toast the spices in oil to infuse the oil with their flavor. Then let it cool and add the infused oil to your dressing (note that you may need to strain it first if it has a lot of big "bits" in it).
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:49 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
I think this is a key phrase that was overlooked in this thread.

Dried herbs are merely the dried version of their fresh counterparts. They only need to be rehydrated with liquid. For salads, that liquid is the dressing. I always add dried herbs to the dressing, then let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two so the herbs are reconstituted and the flavors can develop.

On the other hand, fresh leafy herbs like basil, cilantro, or parsley can be chopped and added directly to the salad greens.

With woody herbs like rosemary or thyme, before adding them to dressing I grind them in a small mortar and pestle to break them down and release the oils that contain the flavor.

If you want to add spices like cumin or chipotle to a dressing, one trick is to very gently toast the spices in oil to infuse the oil with their flavor. Then let it cool and add the infused oil to your dressing (note that you may need to strain it first if it has a lot of big "bits" in it).
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:57 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
When we bought our house and started our herb garden over 20 years ago, a friend gave me this book - "The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs." Our bay tree is now about 15 feet tall.

About bay leaves, the book says to use them dried, but within a few days of drying, to obtain optimal flavor. It also says that traditionally it was used to infuse hot water to make a tea to improve digestion and stimulate the appetite.

I really love this book for information about herbs. It has large photos of all the parts (stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, roots, etc.), culinary and medicinal information, and how to cultivate and harvest them. It also has sample garden designs and crafts using herbs.
I like using the bay leaves fresh...hmmm.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:20 AM   #29
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Since we all have different taste buds ... I have had bay trees over the years, and to me bay leaves are the one herb that tastes stronger when fresh than when dried. And you don't actually eat a bay leaf, so it pretty much goes into longer-cooked dishes, then is pulled out.

When I was young, I lived in Germany, which is the first place I learned that you don't throw away the parsley garnish on your plate, you nibble at it after you're through eating, as a breath freshener.

The first time I ate Indian food was in Hong Kong. As we left the restaurant we were presented with three kinds of seeds. I'm trying to remember what they were. One was licorice-like, I'm pretty sure anice. another I think was carraway. I cannot remember what the third was. But they were to both freshen the breath and aid in digestion.

I'll never forget that experience. Hubby and I walked in (it was in a basement), and simply asked to be fed, we've never had Indian food. Talk about an introduction to new spices!
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:27 AM   #30
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Indian and Sri Lankin foods are the spice gurus. It could have been cardamom seeds you had as well they freshen your breath and aid digestion. My favourite spice. Experiment with fresh and dried herbs, mostly with spice they need to be toasted to release the oils before grinding and adding but there are always exceptions to this. But spices and herbs are the backbone of cooking however u use them.
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