I have designated herb gardens. Since I am selling my house I let two of the beds in the quadrangle go. One bed only had fragrant herbs, the others culinary. I have always grown basil in pots, as I never tire of pesto! The rosemary has to be replanted every year so I grow it as an annual. My sage, chives, garlic chives and mint are grown in large pots underground so their roots do not escape and spread. My dill self seeds every summer and has for the past 15 years. I dry my herbs. I do make herb butters that I freeze and pesto too. Dried herbs are best.
Hey Mrsg, I see dried cilantro and dried parsley sold in stores but have never found them flavor enhancing - they don’t even smell good to me. Do you dry these also? Am I missing something?
And what have you found as the easiest way to get thyme leaves off the stems? Thanks for lending your expertise.
I use cilantro a lot (fresh) not sure why I’m not growing it? I will next year. I can hardly use the swill they sell as herbs at the store. So maybe fresh dried is different? I can say the basil I dried is leagues ahead of the store bought stuff. I bet those bottles are years old!
You haven’t missed a thing. Drying parsley, sweet basil, and cilantro have no flavor. They are just dried leaves. There might be a hint of flavor, but basically nada! They are meant to be used fresh. I have a chapter on The Herb Garden’ in one of my books that also has amazing recipes. There is tons of ‘how to’ in the book. Cilantro/Coriander, is best for its young leaves, but letting it go to seed is where the prize lies. The seeds, green, or dried, are excellent in any salsa, or Sub-continent cuisine.
Sorry to be late to the party, but how can I find your books?
Now I have used dried basil with enjoyment in a meat loaf recipe that I got from Phyllis Shaudys’ book The Pleasure of Herbs. I do add extra dried basil but I find that the flavor comes through and really compliments the meat, and, the fam loves it.
I also find no taste to dried chives, so I’m wondering if they were uber old, and, if I should bother drying the garlic chives shown in my photo. Any thoughts?
Edit: And yes I have a bag of dried cilantro plants ready to harvest the corriander. I do use it in my Indian dishes.
Oh, and what techniques to you use to separate the chaff from seeds like corriander and dill, for example?
Anne, I use a mortar and pestle for removing some really tough coriander hulls, but usually a curry cooks for over an hour so the seeds really soften up and with most recipes I do not bother smashing them. Chives do not dry well either. There are not enough ‘essential’ oils or woodiness to the herb to make the taste last. Chives are hollow. The opposite would be rosemary. Woody stem, very fragrant and ‘tough’ leaf filled with flavor. I tried dried basil a few times, (I happen to love strong herb tastes) so the taste was really wimpy to me. Also dried herbs in the supermarket have become ridiculously expensive. Drying your own is better as you really know how old your herbs are. Store bought herbs should be tossed out every year. Your own herbs can last for up to three years. Also some commercial herbs (particularly dill) are color enhanced.
Oh wow. All good to know. Not only do they taste better (and you know how they’ve been grown) but they last longer after picked. My DIL says the cilantro I give her lasts way longer than what she gets at the store.
So my son was picking up some dried bay (laurel) leaves from the store and did a quick calculation and then called me. “Mom, these are more expensive per pound than gold!! Don’t you grow this stuff? There must be a lot of money in this” LOL
I propagated him a plant and he’s happy. We are just on the edge of where this survives the winter.