October 15th, 2013

Cooking With Herbs – The Basics


Cooking with Herbs

Cooking with Herbs

If you have ever tasted a dish where the flavors blend to create the perfect melt-in-your-mouth taste, you know that this comes from more than just a good cut of meat. The chef of that meal certainly knows how to use his spices. There are a few tricks that you can use with your own cooking to create that same sensation for your guests’ taste buds.

The first thing to remember is that spices are meant to be used to add flavor to the dish, not to mask what is already there. Also, while some herbs compliment each other, be careful not to add too many different ons at once otherwise, the flavor would be overpowering.

Dried vs. Fresh

 Fresh herbs have about 3 times more flavor than dried, so it takes less time for the flavors to infuse into the dish. Add fresh herbs as a garnish or later as you cook. Dry herbs need longer for the flavor to be released so they need to be added early.

 A note about dried spices and mixes: spoon these into your pot as you cook instead of shaking directly from the container. With this method, the heat and steam will not enter the container and diminish the potency of what is left in the jar.

When To Add

 Whether you use dried or fresh spices, they can be added at any point in preparing your dish. Add spices earlier for more blended flavor, or at the end of cooking for more distinct flavor. Add herbs to stews in the middle to end of cooking so as not to cook off all of the flavors added.

Meats can be seasoned with a rub before grilling and then with a few fresh herbs at the end to get a well rounded taste.

How Much To Add

It can be difficult to find the line that divides too little versus too much seasoning to add to your cooking. Too little and the dish lacks richness, but too much and it overpowers the essence of your meat and vegetables.

According to SpiceAdvice.com, it is best to start at 1/4 of a teaspoon per four servings, pound of meat, or pint of sauce or soup. The writers advise to only use 1/8 a teaspoon of garlic an cayenne powders. As with anything, add in small increments until you reach just the right amount.

Herbs To Use With Meat

These lists come from herbinfosite.com. Visit the website for further information.

  • Chicken/Veal: Bay leaves, chives, dill, garlic, onion, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage savory, tarragon, thyme.
  • Lamb: Basil, garlic, marjoram, mint, onion, oregano, rosemary, savory, thyme, tarragon.
  • Pork: Basil, bay leaves, dill, garlic, lemon verbena, marjoram, onion, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme.
  • Beef: Basil, bay leaf, chives, garlic, onion, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme.


For more information, check out SpiceAdvice.com, a great resource for using spices in your cooking.


Photo source from covingtonweekly.com


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