The One Herb Rachael Ray Will Never Use Dried

When it comes to cooking with herbs, are you a dried herb person, a fresh herb person, or a mixture of both? Cooking with dried herbs has its benefits. They're conveniently located in your pantry, they can add great flavor, and they have a long shelf life. Sometimes adding a pinch or two of dried herbs can really make a dish sing. If you're cooking something low and slow for many hours, dried herbs can also stand up to the heat better and are preferred — unless your recipe specifically calls for a fresh bouquet garni.

While there's nothing wrong with heading to your spice rack and incorporating dried herbs into your recipes, fresh herbs can offer a brighter energy to a dish. Not only will they literally freshen up the flavor and texture of a dish, but they have more health benefits than dried herbs, including a higher vitamin content. 

With dried and fresh herbs each have their advantages, chef Rachael Ray has strong feelings about one herb in particular. 

Fresh is better for basil

It turns out that chef Rachael Ray isn't a fan of dried basil. On her official website for the "Rachael Ray Show," Ray shared that basil is the one and only herb she won't cook with dried. While a chiffonade of fresh basil as a garnish just looks nicer than a sprinkling of dried basil, some people opt not to use dried basil for the flavor. Dried basil takes on a sweeter flavor, which is more reminiscent of mint and might not compliment a dish the same way fresh basil would. 

While Ray didn't specify why she doesn't care for it, one could guess that it has to do with the flavor and texture. It could also be the fact that fresh basil is widely available at grocery stores and farm stands and pretty simple to grow at home, even if you don't have green space. If you like fresh basil, it's pretty simple to have on hand and once you bring a bundle of fresh basil home it's easy to keep fresh on your counter by putting it in a glass or vase of water just like you would with fresh flowers. 

A word of caution: Fresh herbs are delicate. So, unless you're putting them in something raw or cold like a salad, fresh herbs are best utilized right before a cooked dish hits the plate as a flavorful garnish.