Herbs: Handle with Care

First of all, let me just say this…

Herbs rule..!

Not like they hang out at Congress or something, but in the kitchen, they rule.

Today I am just going to cover a few basics for dealing with herbs. Maybe some things you always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask.

The Connoisseur recommends growing your own herbs when possible. Whether it is an outdoor garden or an indoor pot, you can’t beat cutting your own just before you use them.

Once you have cut your herbs, or are returning from the grocery, most folks simply toss the little plastic bag into the fridge. We recommend something a bit different. If you are using them the same day, treat them as you would fresh cut flowers and stand them in a glass of water. If you are going to use them in the next day or so, wrap them in a paper towel (slightly damp is preferable), put them in a plastic bag and then into the fridge crisper drawer.

Can you freeze herbs for future use? Certain herbs will freeze fine, but we don’t see the point and do not recommend attempting to do so.

However, you can dry herbs. The best results are normally obtained by simply tying a bunch together and hanging them upside down to air dry.

Now for the cooking part. Of course you always want to clean the herbs before use. Rinse in cool water or submerge them in a bowl of water and shake them a bit, just to release any sand or soil that may be hanging on for the ride. As for the actual cooking, we highly recommend adding the herbs toward the end of the process. If they are cooked too long, some herbs can lose flavor or become a bit bitter. Also, when any chopping of herbs is involved, try to do so directly before you are adding them to the food. This takes the best advantage of the release of the oils when the herb is cut.

This will end today’s herbal notes…