Thursday, February 13, 2014

Let's Get Real About Herbs...

Last night was frozen pizza, and there was no recipe for today.  So, I thought I would take this opportunity to answer a couple questions I get asked all the time. 
Is it okay to use dried herbs in my food?  They say not to on T.V.. 
Do you use the same amount of dry herbs in a recipe as fresh?
Let me start by saying that I am huge fan of food television.  My husband would even tell you that I am slightly obsessed.  However, I really feel that many of the television chefs have done the home cook and injustice.  What is this injustice you ask?  It is this notion that your food will not be as good unless you use fresh herbs. 
Now don't get me wrong, OF COURSE fresh is always best, but let's be real!  I live in a moderately sized town in West Virginia.  Many times it is difficult to find all the fresh herbs that recipes call for, and when I do...THEY ARE SUPER EXPENSIVE. I know what you are thinking "Why don't you grow them?" The answer is simple.  I live in a 1,100 square foot A-frame, with a 10x10 kitchen.  I don't have the room!  I am just a home cook, trying to put good food on the table for my family, as inexpensively as possible, and sometimes that means I use dry herbs.  Actually, it USUALLY means I use dry herbs.  And you know what?  It is totally fine!  Don't stress yourself out thinking you need to do EVERYTHING they say on television.  Remember, you are not cooking for Ina Garten, you are cooking for you and your loved ones.  As long as they are happy, that is what is important! 
Now that we have decided that it was okay to use dried herbs in our meals, lets talk about how we change those measurements in our recipes. 
I have found, through reading various articles, and talking to many people, that, as a rule, when a recipe calls for a teaspoon of fresh herbs, you would use half that in dried herbs.  If it calls for a tablespoon, you would use half of that in dry. 
Also, to get maximum flavor from your dried herbs, grind them in your hands, and add them to your food prior to adding any liquid.  The heat will bring the oils in the herbs back to life and give you the biggest bang for your buck! 
I hope this has eased and herb anxiety you may have had in the past and help you make the change up in your recipes.  And as always...
Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,
~The Kitchen Wife~


  1. I use 1/3 dry to fresh ratio and it has always worked well for me. Farmers markets can be a good place to get inexpensive fresh herbs, and Amish country Ohio is also a good place to find inexpensive herbs, fresh or dry.

    1. Thanks for the tip. And yes, farmers markets are a great resource. I guess in saying all of that, I just wanted to get across not to sweat the small stuff. If you don't have access to or the funds for fresh herbs, use dry, and do it guilt free! Your food will taste great either way! :)

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