The advantages of using fresh herbs are many. They look great, smell incredible and work miracles in the food. Many herbs also come in dried versions as spices. Although, while it is essentially the same herb, they work very differently in terms of cooking.
The difference between dried and fresh herbs
Dried herbs are stronger, more concentrated and can sometimes have a slight bitterness to their taste. That is why you typically use smaller amounts compared to fresh herbs. As a rule of thumb, 1 tablespoon dried ground spice equals 1 dl (cup) fresh, chopped herb.
Working with fresh herbs is a whole other experience in terms of both flavour and aroma. For instance, many people think that basil loses some of its unique characteristics when dried. Of course, this is a matter of personal taste. However, you should always consider if the herb plays a central role in the dish, or if it is just there to add a subtle hint of flavour. With fresh herbs, you always get the rich, vibrant taste and the wonderful fresh aroma. Another thing to keep in mind, however, is when and how to add your fresh herbs.
When should I add the fresh herbs?
Herbs are absorbed differently in food depending on the temperature. With warm dishes, you should always add the fresh herbs right before serving to preserve the fresh aroma and the colour. In cold sauces and dressings, on the other hand, you can add the herbs up to an hour before serving to allow them to be absorbed and add as much flavour as possible.
Combining fresh and dried herbs
Naturally, you can always combine fresh and dried herbs when cooking. Add the dried herbs earlier on to let the taste work its magic, and finish off with the fresh ones for a fresh, rich aroma and taste. Top it all off with some leafy, green topping when serving to give your dish the final visual touch that will have your guests flocking around the dinner table.