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Old 02-20-2021, 07:51 AM   #1
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Dried herbs versus fresh

I have read 2 conflicting stories about adding herbs to a dish

One said if using dried herbs add at the beginning of cooking and if using fresh herbs add nearer end of cooking

On another site it said the exact opposite, fresh at beginning of cooking and dried ones later as they can taste bitter if cooked for too long

Totally confused now.

It is important for me because I cook a lot in a slow cooker so stuff is cooking for a long time

I have usually put both in at start of cooking but maybe I have been doind it wrong

Hope someone can clarify for me

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Old 02-20-2021, 08:10 AM   #2
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You will get flavour from herbs regardless of when you add them...but the time they are added will render optimum effect and flavour..as things cook there is a point when you start to achieve minimum returns. Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavour but need a bit of time for the flavour to come out which is why they are usually added earlier in the cooking process. Fresh herbs can achieve almost immediate results but the flavour will subside over time so they can be added closer to serving...There are no real rules as many people add fresh herbs at any time, but like any other food stuff, they are best enjoyed at their peak of freshness..
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:42 AM   #3
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I agree with Rocklobster.

Also, many fresh herbs have colours that enhance the appearance of the food. If those are added early, most of them will change to a much less attractive colour.
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
You will get flavour from herbs regardless of when you add them...but the time they are added will render optimum effect and flavour..as things cook there is a point when you start to achieve minimum returns. Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavour but need a bit of time for the flavour to come out which is why they are usually added earlier in the cooking process. Fresh herbs can achieve almost immediate results but the flavour will subside over time so they can be added closer to serving...There are no real rules as many people add fresh herbs at any time, but like any other food stuff, they are best enjoyed at their peak of freshness..
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I agree with Rocklobster.

Also, many fresh herbs have colours that enhance the appearance of the food. If those are added early, most of them will change to a much less attractive colour.

+3

I agree with both the above statements.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:32 PM   #5
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+4 So, sus, looks like the majority rules, and it makes sense, when you think about it, adding the dry first, and fresh herbs much later. Many fresh herbs are also used as a garnish, in addition to the fresh herbs added to flavor the dish.

There are a few herbs that I sometimes add both early and later, when fresh. A ratatouille dish I make has this, and the cooked parsley has a totally different flavor - almost like a vegetable - and the fresh, added at the end, has the grassy like flavor. Sage and rosemary are other herbs that are good added early when fresh, to cook the flavors into the dish, but also a smaller amount added towards the end, to get that different flavor. And something that I often do, when cooking for myself, and only having one helping of a dish, is to add a small amount of some of the fresh herbs - basil, cilantro, and parsley - to a single helping, and do the same when heating up leftovers. This way, I get that same flavor of fresh herbs in every dish.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:53 PM   #6
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+ 5 I also agree with everything above .
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:18 PM   #7
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I forgot about cilantro (coriander greens). If it is added to the dish early, I don't mind the flavour. If it is added near the end or raw, I can't abide the flavour. I only recently discovered that it was tolerable if cooked enough, so I haven't tried cooking with it myself yet. For all I know, I might actually like it cooked enough.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pepperhead212 View Post
+4 So, sus, looks like the majority rules, and it makes sense, when you think about it, adding the dry first, and fresh herbs much later. Many fresh herbs are also used as a garnish, in addition to the fresh herbs added to flavor the dish.

There are a few herbs that I sometimes add both early and later, when fresh. A ratatouille dish I make has this, and the cooked parsley has a totally different flavor - almost like a vegetable - and the fresh, added at the end, has the grassy like flavor. Sage and rosemary are other herbs that are good added early when fresh, to cook the flavors into the dish, but also a smaller amount added towards the end, to get that different flavor. And something that I often do, when cooking for myself, and only having one helping of a dish, is to add a small amount of some of the fresh herbs - basil, cilantro, and parsley - to a single helping, and do the same when heating up leftovers. This way, I get that same flavor of fresh herbs in every dish.
Yes..when braising beef I usually add frish herbs to the braising liquid or in a chicken cavity...I guess one of the only things I wouldn't do is add dried herbs near the end as they wouldn't effect the dish as much as if you added them earlier..but, as said, anything goes, really
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:39 PM   #9
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Thank you all so much for your replies, that has really cleared things up for me and can use herbs more confidently now
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Old Yesterday, 02:15 PM   #10
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yes, interesting discussion!
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Old Yesterday, 03:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
I forgot about cilantro (coriander greens). If it is added to the dish early, I don't mind the flavour. If it is added near the end or raw, I can't abide the flavour. I only recently discovered that it was tolerable if cooked enough, so I haven't tried cooking with it myself yet. For all I know, I might actually like it cooked enough.
Between 4 and 14% of people perceive cilantro as tasting like soap, which is genetically driven. These people have a variation in a group of olfactory-receptor genes that allows them to strongly perceive the soapy-flavored aldehydes in cilantro leaves.

When I would prepare food in the Amoretti Test Kitchen and people complained that the cilantro tasted like soap, I would switch to epazote. It looks like cilantro, but it doesn't taste like soap. It tastes like kerosine!
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Old Yesterday, 04:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir_Loin_of_Beef View Post
Between 4 and 14% of people perceive cilantro as tasting like soap, which is genetically driven. These people have a variation in a group of olfactory-receptor genes that allows them to strongly perceive the soapy-flavored aldehydes in cilantro leaves.

When I would prepare food in the Amoretti Test Kitchen and people complained that the cilantro tasted like soap, I would switch to epazote. It looks like cilantro, but it doesn't taste like soap. It tastes like kerosine!
Cilantro doesn't taste like soap to me. It just tastes horrible. I don't know if it's genetic in my case.

You have mentioned about the epazote substitution you do, before. I've been wondering about that. Does epazote taste like kerosene to most people? To some people? Just to you? How do you know what kerosene tastes like?
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Old Yesterday, 10:03 PM   #13
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It was stated that dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh hers. This isn't always true. Dried Cilantro has almost no flavor, and fresh parsley is much stronger in flavor than when dried as well. Also, fresh basil loses some of its aromatic oils when dried, while other flavors are concentrated. Basil, oregano, Marjoram, Rosemary, and thyme are all members of the mint family, and you can taste a subtle mint essense in the fresh herbs, while it's gone from the dried herb. So, the only true way to find out which is right for your tastes, and recipes is to use them and determine your favorite version.

One more thing, dishes that rely on herbs and spices as major flavor components, suc as sunday gravy (Marinara), ragu, some stews, many soups, marinades, chiliu, and brines, benefit from making the dish the day before it is to be served, the refrigerated overnight. zth herbs, and spiced, along with aromatic veggies will more completely release the flavors, and permeate the dish.It is pretty well accepted that spaghetti, lasagna, and chili are much better the nest day. The same can be said of pesto, and many other recipes.

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Old Yesterday, 10:13 PM   #14
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It's difficult to keep fresh herbs on hand and use them effectively. They typically don't last long. You have to buy a plastic pack and often what's left after your first recipe rots before you can use it.

So dried herbs are a practical necessity. Some aren't worth using as Chief said. If all you have is dried parsley you might as well not bother using it unless it's for the color.
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Old Today, 12:09 AM   #15
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I like having fresh herbs handy, but as Andy pointed out, it can be hard to do. At the moment, I have some herbs growing in pots indoors: basil, parsley, dill, rosemary, mint, sage, and thyme. The rosemary seems perfectly happy indoors, but some of the others, not so much. The thyme and sage are looking happy enough this time. I'll have to see how it goes with the dill. I can't even keep dill alive outdoors. If I see that the herbs look like they are going to conk out or if I have cut herbs that I won't use up, I put them in a bag that I put in the freezer. The only problem I have with that, is finding the right herb in the freezer when I need it. Freezing is better suited to some herbs than others.
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Old Today, 12:52 AM   #16
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I think Rocklobster is correct. However for me the fresh option is not available for some herbs such as thyme. We use dried packeted thyme. However, I can use fresh cinnamon and cardamom if needed.
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Old Today, 06:01 AM   #17
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Just wanted to mention that whether fresh or dried herbs are preferable depends in large part on what type they are - soft or woody. Soft herbs like basil, cilantro, dill and parsley lose their flavor quickly when dried. The flavors of woody herbs like bay laurel, rosemary, sage and thyme increase as they are dried and flavor becomes concentrated.

Taxlady, if you're having trouble keeping track of your herbs in the freezer, maybe gather together small bags of them into a larger bag.
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Old Today, 11:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Just wanted to mention that whether fresh or dried herbs are preferable depends in large part on what type they are - soft or woody. Soft herbs like basil, cilantro, dill and parsley lose their flavor quickly when dried. The flavors of woody herbs like bay laurel, rosemary, sage and thyme increase as they are dried and flavor becomes concentrated.

Taxlady, if you're having trouble keeping track of your herbs in the freezer, maybe gather together small bags of them into a larger bag.
Agreed about the woody vs soft herbs.

Yeah, I eventually thought of that, that I should round them up in one place. But, at the moment, that freezer is so overcrowded that it will take a while to find them all.
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Old Today, 12:03 PM   #19
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Maybe put the herbs in 1 qt (or larger, if you use a lot of it, but they do compress), then put all the bags in a 2 gal bag, to keep them all together? This is what I do with things that I freeze for Thai food - galangal, lemongrass, dried shrimp, and a few other things, and I used to put the Thai basil in there, as well. I also do this with the peppers I vacuum seal - I just dump a pack in the various jars in the refrigerator freezer, and refill them, when needed. Easy to find, all in one large bag.

Vacuum sealing herbs will keep them pretty much forever. I still have a pack of hoja santa from 2016 in the freezer (I originally packed close to twenty, as that plant was huge!), and it is still good - will be growing it again this season, I hope.
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