Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Use of Dried Herbs

Wherever you are in the world, fresh herbs cannot be grown fresh locally unless they are imported. Provisions for this are made by using dried herbs, never really as good as the fresh but still makes a major difference in the taste factor in foods. Added to this they still retain many of the compounds that benefit our health and body.

Using dried herbs is common with many home keeping supplies in their larders, in fact many don't even use fresh even when in season. Dried herbs are freely available at most food shops and at every supermarket so access to dried herbs is never a problem. The recipes that require fresh herbs nearly always have an option to include dried herbs therefore can be made the whole year round.

Being dried, herbs loose all of the liquid content and they become more concentrated than the fresh produce. With this you need to use less to create the same power of flavour.

There is a rule of thumb that says the conversion rates recommended is quite simply to substitute one teaspoons of dried for every tablespoon of fresh herbs.

Most recipes can cater for dried herbs as a substitute but there are other than can't especially if the herb is the major ingredient to the recipe, i.e. pesto.

In some cases dried herbs are actually better than fresh, When I make my own bread I have experimented with both and the dried herbs wins hands down. So they do have their benefits.

In stews and sauces dried herbs are used often with bay leaves being used extensively and more effectively dried and also ground up in Asian dishes

Salads aren't as successful with dried herbs but a salad dressing can be quite effective adding the herb element in a disguised fashion.

The dried herb production is essential for all year access to herb based recipes and it is the most practical thing to do with the surplus herbs during their cropping season. Don't feel it is cheating using dried herbs, it's not, it is just using natures way off preserving, no chemicals involved don't forget!

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