The culinary joy of fresh herbs… where do I begin? Growing up, I learned so much about the art of cooking by observing and helping my mother cook. However, it was during my time at Johnson and Wales University working on my culinary degree, that I gained a detailed understanding of the different types of herbs and how they can alter any dish. I love the immense flavor brought to our plates through herbs. My dear friend Kirsten Cameron shared this fresh herb basket from her garden. What a thoughtful, and wonderful gift by the way. So beautiful, so vibrant, so delicate, so bold, so FABULOUS!!! I couldn’t wait to get my culinary juices flowing with these amazing selections. Herbs have a variety of uses including culinary, medicinal, and in some cases, spiritual. I have shared a bit of information about the herbs shared in the photographs below.
A range of flavor from mild to slightly peppery with a very pronounced flavor. I love using fresh sage in my cornbread dressing. This delicate herb, a beautiful, soft green, is slightly fuzzy when touched.
A star of the show in the classic French flavoring herbs de Provence. Similar to it’s friend rosemary, when prepping thyme you must strip the leaves from the woody stems. Using the entire herb would infuse a much heavier flavor.
More than just a garnish on a plate. Flat parsley has a peppery bite, in comparison to curly leaf is basically bland, obviously a vast difference in texture. Used in stocks, soups, stews, and finely chopped on top of a variety of recipes for a clean, light flavor.
Strong, pine-like, fragrance, and flavor, rosemary is widely popular in Italian cooking. Rosemary pairs well with poultry, pork, fish, and vegetables… especially potatoes. Yum!!
When storing herbs, trim the ends. Fill a glass or jar with an inch of water; place herbs in the jar. Loosely cover the herbs with plastic wrap, or plastic bag.
Store in the refrigerator. Change the water as needed. This method works well for cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, and tarragon. For basil, use the same method, but uncovered on the countertop. Another method I use is arranging the herbs in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel. Loosely roll up the herbs and transfer to a resealable plastic bag or plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.
If stored properly, some herbs can last up to three weeks. When herbs begin turning dark, wilted, brittle or show signs of mold, it’s time to discard. Below I’ve listed the average storage time for selected herbs.
Three weeks: parsley, dill, cilantro, tarragon, rosemary
Two weeks: mint, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, savory
One week: chives