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Old 01-24-2008, 12:28 PM   #1
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Ok, how can I tell the difference between dry basil and dry marjoram?

Basil and marijoram?

They are both dried and I got them both from the bulk food store?

Can you tell Im a newbie at cooking???

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Old 01-24-2008, 12:52 PM   #2
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Marjoram is very similar to oregano in flavor and aroma. If you have any dried oregano in the cupboard, try sniffing them side by side and see if either of your new dried herbs smell like the oregano.

I know I'll upset someone when I say this, but I've always detected a hint of "cat pee" smell in dried basil (and sometimes fresh basil and mint too). Don't get me wrong, I LOVE basil, and no, I don't love cat pee....

But that might help you distinguish between the two. Also, I would say that the basil would have a more floral undertone wile the marjoram was a tad deeper and earthier. Just generalizing here. Tough question, but fun to think about!
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:05 PM   #3
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LOL you're not alone! Dry basil smells nothing like fresh basil to me! I smelled something but you just put your finger on it for me!!!!
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:38 PM   #4
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I've said the same thing for years too Jill. I can't grow basil in the house for that very reason. LOL.
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:03 PM   #5
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Go to Google Images. There are photos of each there.

Cat urine is included on a wine aroma wheel and is an aroma that I can often detect in certain white wines, (whre it can be pleasant, actually...) but IMO not in basil.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:22 PM   #6
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Rub a bit of the herb between your fingers and then smell them. that should help.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Go to Google Images. There are photos of each there.

Cat urine is included on a wine aroma wheel and is an aroma that I can often detect in certain white wines, (whre it can be pleasant, actually...) but IMO not in basil.
That white wine would be Sauvignon Blanc.

mirage1202 - my best advice to you would be to go back to where you bought them - take your herbs with you - tell the people who work there you need to know which is which.

I fully understand the fresh basil/cat pee reference.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:41 PM   #8
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Rub a bit of the herb between your fingers and then smell them. that should help.
Yes, there will be a different smell for each - but if you don't know which smell to associate with which herb you're still at square one.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:09 AM   #9
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Hmm... that "cat pee" smell, could that be due to trace ammonia?

Never had an indoor cat so never really got familliar with cat urine as a distinct aroma, but I seem to recall that one of the reasons it smells so strongly is a high ammonia content.

One would think that the ammonia content in various samples of a herb would vary as to the locality in which the herb sample was grown. Sort of like how a Vidalia Onion won't taste exactly like it should if it wasn't grown in Vidalia GA (which has to do with the sulfur content of the soil).
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:42 PM   #10
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Wink

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Yes, there will be a different smell for each - but if you don't know which smell to associate with which herb you're still at square one.
I agree!~~~~~~
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:33 PM   #11
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That white wine would be Sauvignon Blanc.
...
I fully understand the fresh basil/cat pee reference.

I have to revisit the topic because last night I went to my favorite restaurant (Casbah) and they had an interesting Sauvignon Blanc on the list. I couldn't resist ordering the Coopers Creek Cat's Phee on a Gooseberry Bush Sauvignon Blanc. It's an inexpensive wine with bright grapefruit and citrus aromas that, honestly, didn't smell like Cat Pee at all! I should add that if you google the wine's name, you'll see that the US censored the spelling, whilst the rest of the world stood by the tradtional P-E-E. Hmm.

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Old 02-08-2008, 12:59 PM   #12
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i dunno, i'm a dog poo white kinda guy. a nice ge-woof-straminer.

as far as basil and marjoram go, i agree with sage to rub, smell and taste them. dried basil will be sweeter and more delicate.

you could always go to a store and try a sniff test comparison for a baseline.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:05 PM   #13
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a nice ge-woof-straminer.
Groan
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:10 PM   #14
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lol, sorry jill.

you have to decant it for a while or it can be a little "ruff" on the palate.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:30 PM   #15
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I've said the same thing for years too Jill. I can't grow basil in the house for that very reason. LOL.
So can I buy a bunch of basil and put it in the kitchen and blame the smell of my house on the basin rather than the real culprits, the furry four-legged culprits?
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:38 PM   #16
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So can I buy a bunch of basil and put it in the kitchen and blame the smell of my house on the basin rather than the real culprits, the furry four-legged culprits?
Uh, now that you mention it, maybe it wasn't the basil in my house after all... Nahh.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JillBurgh View Post
I have to revisit the topic because last night I went to my favorite restaurant (Casbah) and they had an interesting Sauvignon Blanc on the list. I couldn't resist ordering the Coopers Creek Cat's Phee on a Gooseberry Bush Sauvignon Blanc. It's an inexpensive wine with bright grapefruit and citrus aromas that, honestly, didn't smell like Cat Pee at all! I should add that if you google the wine's name, you'll see that the US censored the spelling, whilst the rest of the world stood by the tradtional P-E-E. Hmm.

Meow
Yes, their name is certainly a pun on the aroma of some SB's. Some have more of an ammonia smell than others. I've had the one you mentioned and find it very pleasant.

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Old 02-09-2008, 01:05 PM   #18
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hmmm, I would check the bags labels LOL

Vaportrail, you are correct about the ammonia thing.
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