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Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh

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What do you do when you want to make a recipe but you don’t have one of the fresh herbs it calls for? The answer depends on the type of herb.

With hearty herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano you’ll have good results substituting dried for fresh because these herbs retain their flavor when dried. Just use half of the volume and add closer to the beginning of cooking so the flavor has a chance to develop.

For delicate herbs, the answer is more complicated. Parsley, chives, cilantro, and basil, which are usually added for their freshness, are better off being replaced by another fresh herb or left out altogether. Their dried forms have virtually no flavor. Dried tarragon, mint, and dill have a distinct flavor, though very different from fresh, so use them if you like.

How dried herbs are stored will also affect their flavor, so keep them away from any heat source (like the stove) or light, and consider their color and aroma before using. If they are bleached gray and musty-smelling (especially a problem for dried thyme), or have no fragrance at all, replace them.


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