Cooking

The Dry Season

When to cook with dried herbs instead of fresh
Photo: Casey Fleser via Flickr
Dried Herbs

Summer is just around the corner, which means it's almost time to start hoarding all the fresh mint and cilantro. And though the weather still hasn't warmed up across the country, we're making a case for the always-in-season dried herb.

They may not hold the same clout as their, er, livelier brethren, but dried herbs are more than just the obvious but carefully calibrated substitution for when fresh herbs aren't in season or readily available. Here's how:

① They pack a serious punch. The concentrated flavor of dried herbs can really embolden dishes like stews or braises.

② They're great if you're budgeting. A little goes a long way, so they're more cost effective than buying a whole bundle of fresh herbs, plus they last much longer.

③ They are fuss free. Dried herbs don't require any washing or chopping, so they're perfect if you're in a rush.

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Some of our favorite ways to use dried herbs are for seasoning salad dressings and infusing oils. Dried oregano is great on top of pizza, but it makes for an excellent Italian dressing, too. And if you're cooking with dried herbs, as opposed to garnishing with them, make sure to sprinkle them in early on in the cooking process, so they can add the most amount of flavor.

As you're gearing up for summer, don't neglect the dried herbs. You may even start to call them the unsung heroes of your spice cabinet.

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