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Old 09-28-2021, 09:59 AM   #1
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Spice vs real thing

I will try to explain my question. Let's say a recipe calls for one cup of parsley or tarragon or some other leafy product. But all I have on hand is the spice in a bottle. How do I determine how much spice to use that will equal the called for one cup?

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Old 09-28-2021, 10:08 AM   #2
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The general rule of thumb is one tablespoon of fresh herbs to one teaspoon of dried herbs, or 1/3 as much dried.
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Old 09-28-2021, 10:45 AM   #3
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And after a while, you will find out that some herbs simply will not taste the same dried. The little bit of flavor that parsley, cilantro, and tarragon have when dried, taste like they were cooked, IMO, and dried basil is also nothing like fresh. Oregano and thyme taste great when dried, and I actually like dried oregano better than the fresh, when I grew it. Dried sweet marjoram is also good. Dried sage, bay, and rosemary are good, and strong, when dried, and fresh, but different - certain flavor component are more volatile in those, and are much lower in the dried.

There's a bunch more I could touch on, but these are the most popular. And something that helps intensifying the flavor, in the herbs and whole spices, is to crush them some - either between your fingers for a little, or in a mortar, for larger amounts.
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:01 PM   #4
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And after a while, you will find out that some herbs simply will not taste the same dried. The little bit of flavor that parsley, cilantro, and tarragon have when dried, taste like they were cooked, IMO, and dried basil is also nothing like fresh. Oregano and thyme taste great when dried, and I actually like dried oregano better than the fresh, when I grew it. Dried sweet marjoram is also good. Dried sage, bay, and rosemary are good, and strong, when dried, and fresh, but different - certain flavor component are more volatile in those, and are much lower in the dried.

There's a bunch more I could touch on, but these are the most popular. And something that helps intensifying the flavor, in the herbs and whole spices, is to crush them some - either between your fingers for a little, or in a mortar, for larger amounts.
Typically the soft herbs like basil, cilantro, dill and parsley lose a lot of flavor when dried and woody herbs like bay leaf, rosemary, sage and thyme get more intense.

I don't expect the soft herbs to taste the same as fresh, but they can be good in a mixture.
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Typically the soft herbs like basil, cilantro, dill and parsley lose a lot of flavor when dried and woody herbs like bay leaf, rosemary, sage and thyme get more intense.

I don't expect the soft herbs to taste the same as fresh, but they can be good in a mixture.
Ditto
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:17 PM   #6
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First of all, there´s an important difference between spices and herbs. Spices are seeds, flower buds, bark or twigs, whereas herbs are usually green leaves. I suppose what they have in common are the volatile oils in the whole spices and the fresh leaves.
I buy my spices whole, and keep them in the fridge, only grinding them when needed. Herbs - I try to use fresh; they´re much more intense.
It´s not always possible to find fresh herbs when you need them, however, so I do keep dried. Delicate herbs, like parsley, dill, cilantro, don´t taste of anything to me when dried. Basil, mint, bay leaves, rosemary,oregano, sage - yep, they work, although the brightness of flavour is missing to me. The jury is still out on thyme and tarragon.
I bought some pumpkin tortellini a few weeks ago. They scream "Sage Butter", but I only had dried. The dish was ok - but fresh sage leaves would have been far, far superior.
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:19 PM   #7
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while I was typing so was karade.. so I've just erased and will say

'ditto' again!
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:39 PM   #8
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In addition to what Dave said about crushing (to help release oils and flavor) is that adding earlier in the recipe will also allow more flavor to be imparted.

Usually fresh herbs are added late in the recipe, so try to plan for the dry replacements to be added earlier.
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Old 09-28-2021, 03:56 PM   #9
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All that being said, if it is an herb added just for flavor, like in a sauce or gravy, its one thing, but to make something like Tabouleh ( at least the recipe I follow), where parsley is one of the main fresh ingredients ( I put at least a cup of fresh parsley into the mix), I'm not sure dried parsley would work at all. It would be missing that fresh element and texture.

(Sorry for the poor grammar and run on sentence )
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Old 09-28-2021, 10:04 PM   #10
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I find dried parsley tasteless. I freeze parsley, as well as some of the other more tender herbs. As to spices, there are some that simply never buy ground, only as seeds. Fenugreek is an example. When the ground stuff gets stale, the smell makes me nauseous. It's not something I use often, so I have the seeds and grind them in a mortar and pestle before use. They last a long time as seeds.
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Old 09-28-2021, 11:22 PM   #11
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Using dried herbs, I add pungent ones (oregano, sage, etc.) early in the cooking before the oil is fully heated. Mild ones, such as parsley, which I like for the color acccent, go in just before serving.
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