Dried Herbs That Aren't Worth It Slideshow
September 9, 2011
... Plus the few that are
Leafier herbs tend to lose more of their characteristics when dried and, according to Bromberg, that means taking away "what's so special about basil, the freshness and brightness of it." He explains, "When basil is dried, it loses a lot of its flavor (not to say that it’s obsolete) and just doesn’t stand up the same way as fresh basil does."
While certain dried herbs work well in recipes, Bromberg says, "In no way can dried basil stand up to the fresh version. Can you imagine a fresh Caprese Salad sprinkled with dried basil or a pasta with ripe Roma tomatoes and dried basil? I think not."
Recipe Idea: Lemon Basil Chicken
Mint is definitely not an herb Bromberg recommends buying dried. Why? "It loses brightness when dried and the flavors are much more muted," he explains. "Some dried mints can even take on a hint of bitterness, which the fresh version does not have."
Recipe Idea: Moroccan Lamb Casserole with Mint Dressing
When it comes to parsley, Bromberg is on the fence. Since they dry their own herbs at the restaurant, he says it depends on the dried parsley you're using. But one thing is for sure: dried parsley translates better than basil. As he explains it, "Parsley has an earthy quality that stands out through the drying process and still translates — it has a very distinct, pungent flavor." Try using it to flavor chicken, similar to how you would use dried rosemary or thyme.
Rosemary is an example of an herb that isn't leafy like parsley or basil. Because of this, it dries very well and can add different layers of flavor to a dish. But be warned: "A little goes a long way with dried rosemary though, so you have to be careful to not overdo it," Bromberg says.
Recipe Idea: Rosemary Apple Chicken
Commonly used to top pizzas or in tomato sauces, oregano is an herb that works well in the dried form. Bromberg explains that the flavors are more recognizable dried than they are fresh and make a bigger impact in the dish.
Like oregano, thyme also works well dried and has a recognizable flavor. Dried herbs work well in dishes with longer cooking times, and thyme works as a great seasoning for roasted chicken.
Recipe Idea: Broiled Salmon with Lemon, Thyme, and Garlic