Herbs that are not readily available fresh, can be dried and bottled for your later convenience. While not as fresh tasting in this form, if properly prepared, the flavor and aroma can be satisfactorily retained. The potency is much greater in the dried form.
As a general guide for interchanging fresh and dried herbs allow 1/3 to ½ teaspoon of dried herbs to replace 1 tablespoon of fresh.
This dried leaf is a natural companion for tomatoes. Use it in tomato sauces, vegetable casseroles, and fresh tomato salads.
While the leaf itself is not eaten it imparts flavor and aroma to soups and tomato dishes and pickling liquors. Also recommended in fish chowders. Add one leaf to the pot when you begin cooking, remove before serving.
The French are particularly fond of chervil, and it is one of the traditional components of “fines herbs.” It is much less common in American kitchens but is found to be one of the best flavoring ingredients for salad dressing. Use it just as you would parsley.
When fresh chives are unavailable, freeze-dried chives are the best substitute. In this form the herb retains a maximum of flavor and when added to a liquid medium dehydrates readily. Use them in any way that you would the fresh.
The traditional way of using marjoram is in lamb dishes. It is also good on string beans and limas and for a unique taste you might try adding some to poultry stuffing.
The essential ingredient in all Italian dishes, so any time you want to impart Italian flavor be sure to include this herb. Also used in Greek and Mexican food.
Rosemary is a sweetest herb that is sold dried and resembles small spikes. Add it along with basil, oregano and marjoram to Italian dishes. It can be used in soups and stews, lamb and chicken dishes and it is great in gin drinks too.
Again, a valuable stuffing enhancer particularly favored with pork products. Steeped in hot water it is supposedly an excellent medicinal beverage for alleviating colds.
Of “parsley sage, rosemary and” fame, this herb is associated most often with poultry.
Caring for herbs
All dried herbs should be stored in airtight containers away from heat. Most cooks keep their herb (and spice) shelf within easy reach of the stove, a handy place except that heat dissipates the flavor and quality of your seasonings. Try to have a permanent storage place in a cooler part of your kitchen.
Always buy the form of dried herb closest to the whole-leaf state, avoiding finely crushed leaves whenever possible. The crumbling of the leaves releases the essential flavoring oils; therefore it is best to crush the leaves between your fingers just before introducing them to the pot.
Kali S Winters