I cook mostly from Cooking Light so my sample size is some what limited, but I've been noticing a trend over the last several years a growing tendency to use fresh herbs in what seems like every. single. recipe. I really only have access to fresh-fresh herbs about three months out of the year (bless living in Northern MN), and I refuse to buy those little packages for $3 pop. I sub a lot of dried.
So out of curiosity, is this uptick for fresh herbs something you've noticed in the recipes you use? and How often do you use fresh herbs? Or do you end up subbing dried?
Just some idle cooking thoughts while watchin' some college football.
Well, I live much further south, so I have access to rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme in my backyard all year. My prolific mint patch is next to the house, so sometimes it will make it through a cold snap and sometimes not. We grow basil and Thai basil and fennel as annuals, too. We are new beekeepers, and apparently our bees love herbal flowers. It's fun to watch them climbing all over our plants. I use the herbs from my yard as much as possible. I buy cilantro every week, as that is a favorite. It does not grow well here due to the heat, and it's 38 cents per bunch at our local store. All summer, I have been making a spicy green sauce called zhoug that takes 1-2 bunches of cilantro (https://cookieandkate.com/2018/zhoug-sauce-recipe/). I often buy a bunch of flat leaf parsley, which is 50 cents or so. I don't usually buy the herbs in the plastic boxes unless I need some dill for a recipe in which dried dill won't sub. At Trader Joe's, I think the boxed herbs are $1.99.
I am with you, however, I would sub dried in most applications if I did not have fresh on hand.
I have not noticed a particular uptick in the use of fresh herbs in recipes, but that may be me not looking around at new recipes as much as in the past.
I love the prices lantana is paying for fresh herbs! In my area cilantro and parsley always range from .89 to 1.19. Thanks for the cilantro link. Until recently I always had an herb garden, but I word all my recipes as though we were in the midst of an ice storm, and my need to justify my Penzeys habit. I really-really love the smell of fresh basil, but always choose to cook with dried basil. I would never make Foccacia with dried rosemary. Fresh cilantro is always a must. I have fresh shallots in the refrigerator and dried shallots in the spice drawer and haven't made anything to use them for months. If there seems to be any trend about using fresh herbs, I think it could be the always increasing number of bloggers who jump on the bandwagon to promote "fresh is ALWAYS better!" It's not.
Post by soupandstew on Sept 16, 2018 12:15:15 GMT -5
I grow rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil. I love fresh sage with pork but hate the cost and have zero luck growing it. As Lantana points out, parsley and cilantro are fall/winter plants for us. Of course, I also get the $0.50 parsley and $0.39 cilantro. The hubby loves to make chimichurri sauce for fish. I also keep fresh and dried shallots on hand.
For me it depends on the recipe. Long-cooking braises sometimes benefit from dried herbs with maybe a shot of fresh at the end of cooking. I also find that dried herbs hold up much better in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Lantana, you are right about the bees-they prefer my herbs 3 to 1 over other flowers. Ironically, my herb bed is right next to a HUGE bed of lantana that is a big butterfly, bee and hummingbird magnet. I've mixed a number of varieties, both upright and trailing, so it's a very happy place.
"Being bitter is just the ego clinging on to the past." Brendon Burchard
Post by swedishcook on Sept 16, 2018 14:57:28 GMT -5
If there is an increase in recipes calling for fresh herbs I haven't noticed it. Coming from a "fancy" source like Fine Cooking I would expect it as compared to a source more in touch with reality.
I'm willing to spend money on fresh herbs occasionally. A few of my recipes require fresh sage and then I always increase the quantities. For other recipes I make good use of my little jar of rubbed (dry) sage.
Dill freezes beautifully. At the end of summer I keep my eyes open for bargains when big bunches can be available at a low price. Chopped chives are also doing well frozen. SIL in Sweden keeps parsley in her freezer so I should try that.
Rosemary and basil are the only herbs I've (sometimes) managed to grow in pots in spite of my black gardening thumbs. Shallots keep for a long time in the same refrigerator drawer as onions and garlic. If I don't use all of a big shallot, the rest is saran-wrapped to no ill effect as far as I'm concerned.
Otherwise I use dried herbs all the time - often in generous quantities.
DH loves to garden and he's been growing some herbs for us...cilantro (doesn't have a long growing season here), parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, oregano, basil (hit or miss), chives and who knows what else. If I have it fresh, happy to use it. I've used dried herbs/spices most of my life and it is automatic for me to go to dry before I remember we have fresh. When there's a big growth, I have DH harvest and I dry them on newspaper...so back to dry I go.
Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'
We use both. Cilantro is one herb I almost always use fresh and almost always buy. It just bolts too quickly here and I seem to want it mostly when the weather is too warm for it. We usually have mint, basil, Thai basil, parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary growing - often chives or a couple of others. They grow about9-10 months of the year. I have added dill, fennel and rue -- but more for my butterflies than for culinary purposes. Sage is something I don't use that often, but I do like it fresh when I can. It doesn't like our humidity.
I agree with generally not paying $3 a pop for tiny amounts of herbs. Cilantro can be 2 or 3 for a dollar here, parsley is under a dollar, but most of the others will run $2-$4 and the amounts are generally pretty small -- once had to buy 2 for a single recipe. I have only done that once -- I think it may have been a test recipe. I do use dried if I don't have it growing and buying doesn't make sense to me -- and it has to be pretty critical to the recipe to pay that much for a single use.
Post by applecrisp1 on Sept 17, 2018 15:12:33 GMT -5
As far as fresh herbs, I've only bought basil and cilantro. I don't buy them often and if I'm only cooking for myself I have a hard time using it up before they go bad. If I have my act together, I have made a pesto with the leftovers and froze it (works great!). I've tried freezing the herbs as is, but I usually just end up tossing it after in the freezer for awhile. I really should buy fresh cilantro more often given how many meals that I make that would be even better with some cilantro (and often part of a recipe).
I made a quick corn and black bean salad over the weekend to use up leftovers --- and definitely not as good since I left out the fresh cilantro.
I cook with dried herbs but for some recipes only fresh would work ---- tomato basil mozz salad etc etc.
I often see recipes that use a couple of fresh herbs in the recipe -- I would only make that for a special occasion/party.
Cilantro runs for $1.79+ in my area (regardless of store). I didn't buy a basil plant this summer --- no clue why since that is a great way to have basil on hand.
I am envious of the prices some of you quoted for cilantro/parsley. I just paid $1.50 for a batch of cilantro - what was high for my store when usually I pay closer to $1/bunch. I do concur, fresh cilantro is awesome and not a flavor that can be replicated or really substituted for and I'm content with that.
I have a rosemary plant/bush in my garden that I've been trying to keep alive through the winter by bringing it into my office, where we have wonderful east/south facing windows. I haven't checked on it in a while, I should see how it's doing... I did plant some herbs on the porch this summer: basil, cilantro and sage, but my window for using them before they bolted was really small. IF I do that again, I might try planting in a shadier spot.
Mostly, I was just curious to see what other's were finding and/doing with fresh/dried herbs - thanks for chiming in!
I use both. I have an herb garden with thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, basil, thai basil, mint, chives, and garlic chives. I planted cilantro and dill this spring, but neither of them did well. I have never had much success with cilantro, but I keep trying because I use so much of it. It is starting to get cool at night so the basil and thai basil won't survive much longer, the hardier herbs usually make it through mid October. I use as much fresh as possible during our short NH growing season. I am also jealous of some of the cilantro prices I am seeing here. It is never less than $1.19 and the bunches are often quite small. I buy my dried herbs from The Spice House and Penzeys so the prices and quality are much better than what is sold in grocery stores. In the next few years we are going to replace the windows in our house because the seals in most of them are broken. I have a 54" wide window in the kitchen and I dream of replacing it with a window that bumps out so I can use the sill for growing herbs indoors. The kitchen faces south and it could be the perfect spot for an indoor herb garden.