Herbs: Fresh Or Dried

Summer and early autumn always give us the opportunity to enjoy great variety of fresh herbs and spices that we can use while preparing different meals for our family. However, the winter is almost here knocking on the door, so most of us start wondering how to provide themselves with fresh herbs. Should we use fresh or dried herbs, which ones are better when it comes to cooking? – this is a question that bothers a lot of housewives.

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Herbs: Fresh Or Dried
Image Credit: farm7
So, which is better: fresh or dried herbs? And when are we supposed to use them? Here are a few tips and ideas that you may find useful:

   •  When are we supposed to use fresh herbs?
Fresh herbs are usually available during spring, summer and early autumn. They come in great range and can really make a difference when preparing various dishes for you and your family. However, there is one golden rule when working with fresh herbs. You wonder what it is? It is quite simple, actually. The fresh herbs are supposed to be added at the very end of the cooking process, when your dish is almost ready in order to add a fresh flavour to the main products you have used.

Fresh herbs and spices can also be used right before the dish is served, as well as in some salads, salad dressings, sauces or marinades in order to add a specific flavour to the main dish. They are also a great idea and almost a mandatory element of meals prepared for some special occasions or holiday dinners, because they add a unique and greatly powerful taste to them.

   •  When are we supposed to use dried herbs?
Dried herbs are a great alternative to fresh ones during the cold winter season, but they also have some specific features that can make your dishes really unique. Remember that just like the other products you use when cooking, dried herbs also have an expiry date and should be stored properly in order to prolong their life. The best way to store dried herbs is in a transparent glass container with a tightly closed lid. However, if the dried herbs were left in their containers for so long that you can't really smell them, this means only one thing – it is high time you replaced them.

When should you use dried herbs? As we have already said before, dried herbs are a great alternative to fresh ones, but it turns out that unlike fresh herbs they should be used during the cooking process. Why is that so? The answer is pretty simple, actually. Dried herbs usually have softer and slighter aroma than fresh ones, which means that their flavour is “released” during thermal treatment. If we have to put this in other words, dried herbs should be used while you are still preparing the dish, and not afterwards in order to add their flavour to it.

   •  Are fresh and dried herbs interchangeable?
The question if fresh and dried herbs are interchangeable is not one of the easiest ones, actually. After all, everything is a matter of personal taste and preferences, which means that there is not a universal answer to this question. Frankly speaking, there is absolutely no problem to use dried herbs when the recipe you are preparing calls for fresh ones, as well as the other way round. However, you should bear in mind the fact that nevertheless dried herbs have quite powerful flavour, sometimes their aroma may be rather bitter than the one of the fresh ones. On the other hand, fresh herbs have usually more gentle and delicate scent than dried ones.
About the Author:

July loves to write about cooking and health topics. She works as a professional cleaner at http://www.perfectcleaning.org.uk/deep-cleaning-brixton-sw2/ but her real dream is to become a cook.

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