This technique does not work for more delicate herbs like basil. Once fresh basil is chopped it begins to oxidize immediately turning its delicate leaves brown. Fresh basil should be minimally chopped and prepped right before service. However, other popular herbs like oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, cilantro and tarragon are easier to manage.
As spring approaches and we begin to crave fresh greens get creative and explore the different uses and varieties of herbs. Be sure to smell and taste them before using and begin with small amounts at first.
A general rule to follow when using herbs is to use dried herbs in the beginning of a dish and fresh herbs at the end. Dried herbs need heat and moisture to blossom and fresh herbs are best used with minimal cooking time to ensure their delicate flavors don’t get lost.
Here is a quick guide of common herbs and their pairings to get you started:
Fresh Basil – Italian, Mediterranean and Thai cuisine. Including tomatoes, bell peppers, cheeses, lemon, garlic, watermelon, squashes, eggplant, salads, dressings, soups, eggs, chicken, lamb and fish.
Fresh Cilantro – Asian, Indian, Mexican and Thai cuisine. Avocados, peppers, coconut, garlic, ginger, limes, mint, tomatoes, yogurt, chicken, fish, and pork.
Fresh Dill – German, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Russian, Scandinavian, and Turkish cuisine. Beets, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, eggs, parsley, pickles, potatoes, tomatoes, yogurt, beef, fish, and shellfish.
Fresh Oregano – Greek, Italian, and Mexican cuisine. Basil, beans, bell peppers eggs, eggplant, garlic, lemon, mushrooms, olives, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, beef, chicken, fish, and pork.
Fresh Rosemary – French, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisine. Beans, bell peppers, breads, cabbage, eggs, eggplant, garlic, lavender, lemons, beef, chicken, duck, fish, rabbit, and lamb.
Fresh Sage – European cuisine. Apples, asparagus, beans, breads, cheeses, cherries, eggplant, garlic, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, rosemary, sausages, squash, thyme, tomatoes, chicken, duck, game birds, goose, pork and fish.
Fresh Tarragon – French cuisine. Beets, carrots, cheeses, chives, eggs, fennel, grapefruit, lemons, limes, melons, mushrooms, parsley, potatoes, chicken, fish, lobster, pork and rabbit.
Fresh Thyme – French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Bay leaves, beans, carrots, cheese, chives, corn, eggplant, lemons, mushrooms, onions, oregano, parsley, potatoes rosemary, tomatoes, chicken, fish, lamb, and pork.