Cooking with Herbs
Building a base to take any dish from drab to delicious in just one pinch.
One of the first recommendations for anyone looking to reduce their sodium intake is to cook from home, as often as possible, while using herbs to add flavor to dishes versus salt. This may sound pretty straight forward, but what if you do not have the slightest idea on how to proceed with this tip? No fear, consider this your introduction into a new way of cooking!
Herbs (versus spices) are the leafy parts of short flowering plants like mint, oregano, basil and rosemary. They can be enjoyed fresh and dried. Although fresh herbs tend to be plentiful in the summer months, you can also find them in our Produce Department year-round. Dried herbs, though not typically as fragrant as their fresh counterparts, can be found all year long in our Baking aisle.
Store herbs with tall stems, like parsley and cilantro, in water in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Help prevent wilting by covering leaves with plastic wrap or a plastic food storage bag.
For shorter herbs and leaves, wrap in a damp cloth and store in your refrigerator crisper. Be sure the cloth stays moist and you may be able to store herbs like thyme for 1-2 weeks.
Store dried herbs at room temperature in a dark, dry place like your cabinet.
For best quality, use within 6-12 months.
Cooking: All Things Are Not Equal
Rinse fresh herbs in a bowl of cool water to shake soil and dirt free from their stems and leaves. Pat leaves dry with a clean towel before prepping.
Since they break down quickly, add fresh herbs to recipes at the end of cooking. Exceptions are hardier, stronger flavored herbs like rosemary and thyme, and whole leaf herbs like bay, that can be cooked through the duration of many recipes.
The flavor of dried herbs tends to be more concentrated than fresh. When substituting dried herbs for fresh, use about a third of what is called for. For example, 1 tablespoon fresh sage would become 1 teaspoon dried sage.
Since flavors of dried herbs need more time to be released than fresh, adding them to recipes from the start is recommended to help rehydrate the leaves.
When it’s time to add dried herbs to recipes, do so directly into your hand. This way you are away from the moisture of the cooking pot.
As you’re adding dried herbs, rub and break them up between your fingers to help release flavors.
Ready to get started? Enjoy these recipes featuring a few of our favorite herbs!