HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

How to get anything out of dried herbs?

Even when I buy them from "upscale" sources, except for the really pungent ones, they all taste like faded grass to me -- basil, marjoram, parsley, cilantro (especially cilantro). I just can't taste them at all. How do you use dried herbs and actually have them *contribute* to your dish? Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. In my opinion, few herbs taste good dried. Oregano and thyme are two that work well, although thyme is still better fresh. Cilantro, mint, tarragon, parsley, basil, marjoram and sage really should be used fresh. I have often bought a package from the store, used what I needed, then freezed the rest. Keeping a small herb garden is best, but can be hard to maintain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jono37

      I agree about Oregano and Thyme. I keep dried rosemary around to use in a Roast beef rub that I use but as for the others fresh is best. I really can't see a need for dried Cilantro.

    2. I think you are right. I really have not had much luck with dried herbs. I made sofrito with fresh herbs, then froze the sofrito in an ice cube tray. It's great, not quite the same as fresh, but good enough. I think I'll do that with the rest of the herbs.

      1. A lot of dried herbs are tasteless... the ones that seem to hold up best are oregano, thyme and rosemary, with sage coming up behind them (though it's not nearly as good as fresh...)
        Parsley and chives lose all flavour and just become 'something vaguely green' when they're dried. (We don't have a garden, and our three cats would make short work of any attempt at indoor herb-growing, so I've tried a lot of different dried herbs...) I bought some dried cilantro last week but haven't tried it yet - I'm not expecting much!

        1. i have recently started using this product: http://www.gourmetgarden.com/us/index... instead of dried herbs and have been vary pleased. In the spring/summer I grow fresh on the back porch, but can't in the winter, and have found these to be quite adequate!

          3 Replies
          1. re: bethd127

            What a *great* idea! I see it is sold in a lot of stores near me. In which section? The spices? Or fresh produce?

            1. re: xnyorkr

              i believe i've seen them in the produce section

            2. re: bethd127

              I have tried the basil and the lemongrass once each and found them pretty weak. I would not purchase this product again.

            3. as mentioned above, i also rely on oregano, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary for dried herbs. their flavor will get an extra jolt if sauteed for a minute in the oil/butter before adding other ingredients.

              the other dried stuff is garbage.

              1. I like the classic Herbes de Provence. I have been getting mine from PENZEY'S.

                1. Dried basil, parsley or cilantro are just there for the inexperienced to get ripped off, I guess. There is no flavor from these when dried, except for an unpleasant and musty flavor and there is no reason to purchase them. I would not use them in a dish at all.

                  Thyme, oregano, marjoram and rosemary should retain some essential oils. Try Penzey's by mail if you are not able to purchase good ones locally.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: coconutz

                    LOL! I agree that dried basil, parsley, and cilantro should be illegal. I was one of those inexperienced, ever hopeful, and got ripped off.

                  2. Dried basil should be illegal. Thyme, oregano, and bay are good dried, and rosemary is ok in a pinch. Basil is really easy to grow if you have some space in a sunny spot. Just split apart one or two of the little plants and re-plant in a larger pot with some alkaline soil. A little plant can also last a while on the window sill, depending on how much you use, and how often.

                    1. Try putting them into fresh fruit compotes and jams as they do not discolor like fresh herbs.