When it comes to cooking herbs, I feel like a seasoned chef! Using herbs in your cooking is one of the best things you can do to give your dish a whole new flavor and give it that special flavor. The freshness of herbs is something to be taken advantage of in every way you can think of.
I know it’s hard to believe that it is possible to cook with any type of herbs other than those from your garden, but it is possible. Because herbs are natural, and because they are grown and harvested on a regular basis, there is no need to store them in large containers. To cook with fresh herbs, simply buy an herb plant at the beginning of the season or let them go to seed by cutting them down. Don’t forget that when purchasing your herbs, look for herbs that are either in their young or old seasons.
Get the best herb you can find. Do not grow or use the same herb year after year. I once bought a bunch of fresh, rich-smelling herbs and planted them together, only to have the season come and go and the herbs have completely changed.
When preparing a dish, it is always important to choose the best herbs for the task. There are three things you should consider when selecting your herbs. The first is how old the herb is. If you know the age of the herb, the second thing is how thick the leaf is. And the third is the fragrance of the herb.
Just because the herbs are fresh, does not mean that they have to be old. Fresh herbs will often be very fragrant. Try experimenting with different types of herbs in a variety of dishes, such as sauteed spinach in olive oil, or shredded chicken with mixed herbs.
I find a lot of fresh herbs really make a big difference in the final dish, so it is worth investing in a good, high-quality container to keep them in for the whole season, so they are always fresh. Use your imagination, and you will find a way to use just about any herb! For example, try growing an herb called comfrey in a jar for a fall harvest. You can roast the comfrey and slice the slices and stir-fry it with beef and vegetables.
Fresh garlic is great for roasting, but fresh leeks are equally amazing in soups and salads. Let’s face it, summer is not a good time to cook with fresh herbs. Give them a break!
The first time I ever cooked with fresh herbs, I was working in the restaurant kitchen. We were the ones who came up with the idea to keep the fresh herbs in the house. I love that our city now has more than enough herbs to sustain us all. During the winter and spring, we simply bring in the herbs from the gardens.
We love the smell of Dutch lavender, which comes from the Netherlands. If you can, look for Dutch lavender at your local garden center or herb farm, or buy at a nursery. When you buy the root, avoid buying the leaf.
Don’t forget that you can freeze herbs for later use, even dried herbs. Keep a few drops of the herbs in a small jar and you will have a nice, even paste in the freezer. It is also a great method to use in making a wonderful spice rub.
For instance, if you want to cook Rosemary, but you do not have fresh Rosemary, try slicing some fresh Rosemary into thin slices and use them in salad dressing.