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Old 10-14-2012, 04:40 PM   #1
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Rebelling against fresh herbs

It's hard to find a recipe these days that doesn't specify all fresh herbs. Yes, I know they taste better. But do they taste that much better? For many herbs I would say no, they are not worth the $5.00 - $10.00 they can add to the cost of a meal. Oregano and thyme, for example; Herbes de Provence, Italian Seasoning are two more. Cilantro? No- use fresh or just don't use it. Dried Cilantro is useless. Sage? Don't know. Parsley, yes (it is not a strong taste in either dried or fresh form). Rosemary? dried is fine.

I wonder if there are any blindfold taste tests out there that compare fresh to dried with certain spices. There are some tricks with the dried spices, too, like blooming them in hot oil before the liquid is added.

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Old 10-14-2012, 04:50 PM   #2
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Grow your own. I have an herb garden on the deck and grow all the herbs I can use for about 7 months out of the year. My total cost is less than $10 a year for the annuals. Most of the perennials will over-winter in the house just fine.

I agree with you that some dried herbs taste just as good or better than their fresh counterparts, but for the most part, I definitely prefer the taste of fresh herbs.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:54 PM   #3
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You have to pick your battles. Some are worthless dry and some are better. I prefer dry oregano by far over fresh.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll
Grow your own. I have an herb garden on the deck and grow all the herbs I can use for about 7 months out of the year. My total cost is less than $10 a year for the annuals. Most of the perennials will over-winter in the house just fine.

I agree with you that some dried herbs taste just as good or better than their fresh counterparts, but for the most part, I definitely prefer the taste of fresh herbs.
+1

The prices for grocery store fresh herbs are outrageous. I have dug up my basil, parsley and cilantro and brought them in, and they're still passable months later. Not as pretty, but totally edible. I also dig up the rosemary.

Oregano, sage, rosemary and thyme are just fine dried. I do prefer fresh parsley.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:58 PM   #5
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I grow many of my own herbs. I bring the pots in before the first frost. Basil germinates and grows well indoors year around. I also have an herb keeper (mine is this one, but there are a lot of others on the market--http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=38352&words=herb%20keeper) . I use both fresh and dried herbs. I used to cut the ends off a bunch of cilantro and put it in water. I changed the water every day. It would last 2 weeks or so, ditto for Italian parsley.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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You have to pick your battles. Some are worthless dry and some are better. I prefer dry oregano by far over fresh.
My Greek oregano is a perennial--I leave some in the ground and bring some in for the winter. I like dried oregano when making tomato sauce, add the fresh 5 minutes before finishing the sauce. I prefer fresh oregano on salads over dried. There are three cupboards above my stove. 1-1/2 of those are filled with herbs, spices. The other 1-1/2 is filled with grains, beans, and a few canned goods (artichokes, water chestnuts, etc.). Worse-case scenario--the plants dry out. But then, I have dried herbs ready to go.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:05 PM   #7
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I use fresh herbs as often as I can, otherwise I order from Penzey's. Dried herbs for me are a convenience food.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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I use lots of dried herbs, but I grow chives, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, mint, and sage.

I find that fresh rosemary is so much nicer than dried. I think of dried rosemary as "those horrible, little twigs that poke my gums".
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:47 PM   #9
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Herbs certainly don't add 5-10 bucks to a recipe here.

I grow basil, sage, parsley, mint, rosemary, cilantro and thyme in the garden. But I buy from the store too.

I don't care for fresh oregano.

I have a cabinet full of dry from Penzey's too.

Dry and fresh both have their place and are not always interchangeable.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:11 PM   #10
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I have had the same rosemary plant for almost 5 years now. I bring it in for the winter. I love fresh rosemary. Hate the dried stuff...but that is probably just me. I also have a bay tree. I love using fresh bay.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:18 PM   #11
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My rosemary got huge. Dug it up and it's inside now. It smells so good.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:46 PM   #12
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Fresh herbs often taste better than dried herbs, depending on which recipe.

Recipe authors should specify which herbs are better fresh, and should include measurements for each--since fresh is often stronger than dried.

I completely agree with the comments above that herbs are often easy to grow and are almost always better than dried.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
...since fresh is often stronger than dried...

The rule of thumb is actually the opposite - to use less dried than fresh as dried are stronger.
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:01 PM   #14
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My experience with herbs indicates that it's often to compare the results fresh vs. dried because the two are difficult to measure comparitively..

I think that each chef should understand the comparative benefits and costs to using fresh herbs, and should bet their business on their prediction
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:26 PM   #15
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I have three rosemary, a sage, oregano and thyme planted in the yard. All will survive the winters here, and supply all my and the neighbors needs.

I also have Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass growing indoors in a sunny Florida room.

Dill and basil do not do well here in the winter, and neither work well as a dried herb for my taste, and I will purchase the very expensive store bought fresh.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:36 AM   #16
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I think you gotta use both. Fresh Oregano on a salad of cucs,toms,onions,cheese,etc would be far better than dried IMHO.
Dried works better in red sauce IMHO.

Fresh rosemary chopped is completely different creature than dried.
I make a lemon rosemary icing that dried just would not work in. Fresh bread and woody dried doesn't work either.

You gotta pick fresh what is available when available and cook something else when it doesn't make sense. Dried rosemary scallop skewers anyone?

Fresh dill VS dried? 2 totally differnt things on Salmon.
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