The Choice between Fresh and Dried Herbs

In my opinion, fresh herbs are always the better choice when it comes to taste and quality. However, due to the fact that they are in deed fresh they are also perishable items meaning that the shelf life is short and may be even shorter if they are not stored properly, making them sometimes not very convenient or readily available. Unless you have an herb garden in your back yard!

Dried herbs, on the other hand, have a much longer shelf life. They are much more convenient and do not involve much labor as far as chiffonade or chopping is concerned. I am currently earning my A.S degree in Culinary Arts and here are a few tricks that I learned when dealing with dried ingredients. In order to get the most flavor from dried ingredients they must be re-hydrated. By using the term re-hydrate, I am not saying that you should drop the herbs in waterlet me explain! Re-hydration for each herb varies! For instance, I’ve learned that in order to release the most flavor from dried herbs you should rub them with your fingers, this way you begin to release the oils in the herbs that have been stowed away. Another way to begin the process of releasing the oils from dried herbs is to slightly toast or dry heat them. Like drop them in a saut pan over a low flame and shift them around for a couple seconds.

Good chefs in the industry use a combination of both fresh and dried ingredients while cooking. They make decisions about which ingredients absolutely MUST be fresh and which items can be substituted for dry. For instance, I honestly feel there is NO substitute for fresh parsley or cilantro.

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