Growing up, we had a spinning rack of dried herbs. When I was feeling fancy, I would pick and choose a few to toss onto roasted veggies or into a semi-homemade marinara. But I was never really sure that the crumbly bits of herbs did anything.
The truth is that they probably didn't. After all, that spinning rack sat in the kitchen for years without any of the herbs being replaced. (Psst! Did you know that dried herbs and spices have about a one year shelf life? Some, like thyme, have a six-month shelf life. Have you gone through your herbs lately?)
But then, when I was a little older, I was introduced to the wonderful world of fresh herbs and everything changed.
Fresh herbs are magical. Their fabulous burst of flavor brightens up a dish with their brilliance. They brighten up a dish with flavor and freshness. And it's so easy to cook with fresh recipes. Most herbs need only a light chopping before they can be used. Some though, like rosemary, do need to be finely chopped first since they have a tougher texture.
Fresh herbs like parsley, basil and sage are best stored in water -- like a floral arrangement. Simply trim the ends of the herbs and stick in a cup of water. No refrigeration necessary, but be sure to use your herbs within a few days.
Ready to get cooking with fresh herbs? Here are some fabulous ideas:
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah's Cucina Bella.