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Jul 19, 2013 11:38 PM

cheapest place to get fresh herbs?

What is the cheapest place to buy fresh herbs in Austin without sacrificing quality? I've only bought from HEB so far, but $2.49 for 2/3 oz of dill seems really expensive. They had other herbs in similar quantities for the same price. I believe Whole Foods had similar quantities for about the same price. Are there better places to buy fresh herbs or are they really just that expensive?

The one that seemed really puzzling to me was rosemary, as that stuff seems to be growing everywhere.

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  1. It is ridiculous about rosemary - it is growing everywhere. Dill is a bit harder, as it grows well at first, gets infested with caterpillars, and then bolts when it gets hot. I get "dried" dill at Central Market - it is not really that dry, very cheap, and will last a few weeks before losing flavor.

    Dill - Central Market

    Oregano - many varieties grow like crazy here, so I can't see paying $2.49 for 1/100th the amount that I have to whack back every two weeks.

    Epazote - Fiesta has it most times. If you can find a plant, put it in an out-of-the-way place and it will grow like a weed. Dried epazote does not work.

    Fennel leaves - a bit easier than dill, but you don't' get tons of it by growing. Maybe just pay the $2.49, but I don't see it that often.

    Cilantro - I've given up on trying to grow it. 50c mostly.

    Parsley - you can grow it, but why when it cost so little?

    Sage - grows really well with limited care. But, most people don't use it enough, so maybe just buy it when you need it. We do a lot of sage butters, though. I'm sad because it didn't come back this year.

    Rosemary - just steal it from someone else's bush or grow one. You can eat "ornamental" I suppose, because I haven't died yet. Every restaurant seems to have it out front.

    Thyme - I don't like dried thyme leaves, so I've had a bush for a few years. Strangely, this is one herb where dried powder often does the job for me, however.

    Tarragon - tried to grow the French and failed. Don't often see the French variety for sale except sometimes at Central Market. I used Mexican Marigold mint (Texas Tarragon). It grows like hell, is tasty, and has nice flowers. And comes back year after year (except this one for me). Never see it for sale, though.

    Mint - people grow it in pots all the time and have plenty. I can't seem to grow anything in pots, because I forget to water. Seems ridiculous to buy it for $2.49, though.

    1. Each of the major grocery stores in town has at least one favorite thing of mine that I like to stop in for... Central Market tends to win for me when it comes to herbs.

      The fresh bunches usually go for $1.69 ea I believe (regardless of herb), and they typically have the "greatest hits" of herbs... basil, thyme, oregano, dill, rosemary, chives, sometimes tarragon, etc. Nice quality, generous amounts.

      They also carry the packaged fresh herbs in the little plastic clamshell boxes, but they're (as everywhere) pricey. They can be your only option sometimes though if you're looking for something a little more off the path (e.g. chervil, micro greens, stuff like that).

      2 Replies
      1. re: popvulture

        Should also add that the fresh bunched herbs I speak of don't include parsley/cilantro.

        1. re: popvulture

          I bought a two dollar bunch of plump basil leaves today at the downtown farmer's market - made about 3 cups worth of packed leaves.

      2. One thing is to get the little pots of live fresh herbs sold at the front of many an HEB. I have paid $4 per pot, and gotten what I think is the equivalent value of three little packets @ 2.49. The thyme in particular....if I buy a little packet, I use half and then stress on making sure I make something that uses the rest. With a live plant, with $4 invested, I use what I need and the rest stays fresh until I need it. No way is this a long-living, harvestable plant...just works for a couple/few months. Fresh oregano, sage, and yes, even rosemary, work for me in this way. Don't see much dill - and since pickles and gravlax are constant around here, I just shell out for the precious packets.

        I have had great luck at the Indian markets...Man Pasand, Ghandi Bazaar are my two "go-to" places for mint (HUGE bunches, .99), and some other herbs (maybe more esoteric) and for other neat produce like fresh garbanzos.

        1 Reply
        1. re: saticoy

          Oh yeah - MT Supermarket usually has very large bunches of various mints for a good price. They also carry Thai Basil at good value.

        2. The low prices won't last much longer, but you can get a nice deal on fresh basil at the farmer's market downtown. Today I bought what ended up as three nicely packed cups of leaves for two bucks per sizely bunch. The tent was about midway down on the southmost row of vendors, but I can't recall the name. A stand next by was about 5 times the price. watch out....

          1. MT Supermarket for various mints, basils, cilantro, and harder to find asian herbs like shungiku (sometimes) and culantro...this is my go to place for mint and basil.