If using fresh herbs isn’t part of your kitchen arsenal and cooking secrets, this spring is a perfect time to start! As the weather warms, some of the most delicious herbs are coming into season.
Herbs are a wonderful way to add healthy flavor and vibrancy to any dish. If you are trying to cut down on salt or add some nonfat flavor to your food, fresh herbs are just what you need. A great way to boost the flavor of a sauce or salad!
Paula’s test kitchen has come up with some tips for storing and cooking with herbs to make your life a little easier and much more flavorful.
1. Spring herbs such as tarragon, dill, parsley, mint and basil are a bit more fragile with thin leaves, compared to heartier herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme. They need to be treated with care!
2. Buy only the freshest smelling and brightest colored herbs.
3. Trim the ends and put the bunch in a jar of cold water, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4. Or wrap the herb bundle in damp paper towel and put in the fridge in a zip lock baggie.
1. Always taste your herbs before adding them to your dish, as flavor and potency can vary.
2. With more fragile herbs such as basil, tarragon, dill, and mint add them in at the end of cooking to preserve their flavor
3. Treat them kindly, snip with scissors or tear with your hands, rough chopping with a knife can bruise the fragile leaves and damage flavor.
4. Heartier woodier herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage are stronger in flavor and need to be chopped well and can withstand longer cooking times
5. Garnish! A sprinkling of herbs on top can make any dish pop on the plate!
Paula grows an abundance of herbs in her home garden, and some of her best cooking is done with herbs that she is able to snip just before adding to the dish. Try some of Paula’s wonderful recipes celebrating the flavor of springtime herbs:
So, whether you are following specific recipes or simply sprinkling some basil on baked chicken, make fresh herbs you go to culinary secret of spring!