Friday, March 18, 2011

Basic Hints for Cooking with Herbs

Many people have one thing in mind if they grow herbs - cooking with them. Here are some tips when doing so:
  • Use sparingly to enhance flavors.
  • Use different parts of the herb in preparation - roots, stems, leaves, flowers - all have different uses.
  • Be careful in combining herbs- especially when experimenting. Some flavors do not belong together.
  • Recognize there is a distinctive taste with specific relationships to different foods.
  • Grind or chop fresh herbs right before using - this releases the flavor.
  • Use 3-4 times the amount of fresh herbs to replace dried or powdered herbs in the recipe.
  • Use a small amount of strong herbs until you are use to the flavor and how much you like.
  • Heat releases the flavors and aromas.
  • Extended cooking times reduces the flavoring of herbs, so add fresh herbs to soups and stews about 45 minutes before completing cooking time.
  • When using herbs for refrigerated foods (dips, cheese, veggies, dressings) add the fresh herbs several hours or overnight before using. The only exception to this is basil - putting it in overnight or longer will make your dish bitter.

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