HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Why are expensive fresh herbs used in most recipes?

This is a personal pet peeve. Why do most recipe posters use fresh herbs instead of dried? OK, they are better in many cases but most people don't want to spend more money on the herbs than they do on the center of the plate item.I was looking @ a roast pork recipe recently that had three fresh herbs listed (rosemary, thyme and oregano). Even if I could find them this time of year they'd be expensive and you'd have perishable leftovers to deal with. I used dried herbs and the roast turned out great.I'm a retired chef and I know how to substitute ingredients in the kitchen but many people follow recipes to the "T". Please give them a break and list both fresh & dried herb options.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've been setting aside all tempting recipes that include mint until my plants reappear. Dried mint not always a substitute for fresh. I don't mind if recipes call for fresh as I am comfortable substituting dried if needed. Actually, rosemary and thyme overwinter at my house, DC area, so I *can* use fresh all year long.

    1. You can always reduce the amount and use dried if that's your preference.

      OTOH, it's easy to grow a few indoors or out for snipping when needed. I always have fresh thyme, rosemary, flat leaf parsley on hand, often home grown, but not always.

      1. In the winter I use dried with no qualms; usually store bought but also leftover home grown from the summer, picked around the first frost and dried on my dining room table. I grow them in pots outside the front door, doesn't take much effort at all.

        With spring here, you should think about growing the few types that you might use the most. Not only economical but easy and fun too.

        When I do buy fresh at the grocery, whatever is leftover goes into the freezer before it starts to wilt. You could make a paste out of it if you were cooking a roast, although I usually use it for sauce or soup.

        13 Replies
        1. re: coll

          I tried growing herbs last summer without much success. Most withered in the intense heat we experienced last year. I think my mistake was growing them in pots rather than directly in the ground.They probably got too hot & dry in the smallish containers.

          1. re: zackly

            I put them in medium to large containers, you will get more yield that way plus they won't dry out so quickly. Put them somewhere where there is shade part of the day (mine are on the corner of a covered porch). You do have to be somewhat vigilant about watering, but if you use them on a semi-daily basis you will see when they start to wilt.

            I just got some nice sized, really nice looking ceramic painted pots at the Christmas Tree Store for $3.99; Dollar Stores are also a good source. Maybe we should move this over the the "Gardening" section here ;-)

            1. re: zackly

              I have a small "farmer's porch" out my front door, and a deck off my living room on the opposite side of the house. I've found that the morning sun and afternoon shade on the "porch" is MUCH better for anything I'm growing vs. the deck, which gets very strong afternoon sun.

              So I fully agree on the shaded area. I would water the herbs, lettuce and chives in the morning before I left for work, and they did quite nicely.

              1. re: zackly

                This is starting to move into "Gardening" territory but I had great success with these planter boxes:


                There's a reservoir at the bottom that you fill through a large tube. The herb plants were gargantuan; incredibly large and productive. And being on wheels, it was easy to move around the deck.

                1. re: ferret

                  I'm definitely picking that up if it is available at Canadian Home Depot outlets.

                  I like to give the ideal ingredient for recipes; really part of learning how to cook is knowing what substitutions can work.

                  We must not forget that fresh herbs are a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. Even in the Montréal winter, I can and do always buy a bunch of flatleaf parsley. It is full of vitamin C and other important nutrients.

                2. re: zackly

                  Practically everything grown in pots is going to need more water than if it's grown in the ground. The solution is water more than once a day when necessary.

                  1. re: zackly

                    I find some herbs do better in heat than others. Parsley is a total loss for me - when it gets hot, no matter what I do the plants turn yellow and stop growing. Mint tends to do poorly, even in shade, and cilantro bolts quickly (plan on getting a single crop and replanting).

                    Basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano do pretty well, if watered enough.

                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                      Agree tastesgwii.....I tried growing cilantro several times. There's about three days where I can get anything off of it before it bolts. I don't know how they produce those bunches at the market for 50 cent. Maybe we should combine our lists for those herbs that are tasteless when dried or needless to dry. And then another list for those conducive to drying. My top picks for not to dry:

                      Epazote - a wonderful turpentine herb that is tepid and listless when dried.

                      Basil - really? I think I'm a good taster but I can't taste this.

                      Rosemary - once you get one established, it grows out of control. It is funny to see people buy packets of rosemary for $2.50 at the market.

                      Oregano - so many types, and as said previously, are very hardy.

                      Chervil - I know it is one of the fines herbs, and "delicate." Hard enough to distinguish in a fines herbes anyhow. I can't grow it, as it bolts quickly on me. Dried tastes like nothing so I gave up on it. I'm all ears if someone has a better experience.

                      Mint - can't taste the dried versions at all (as previously mentioned). I've always wondered if one could use mint oil in the winter.

                      OK (for me) to be dried:

                      Tarragon - can't grow French Tarragon here, I've tried. The dried version still has a hint of the ambiance. We have Texas Tarragon here, which is very easy to grow, but it is a completely unrelated plant. I like having a plant of Texas growing and a packet of dried French.

                      Dill - dill bolts on me pretty quick, and it attracts the butterfly larvae; you can still pull off it for a month or two. Dried dill retains good flavor in my opinion.

                      Thyme - I actually find dried thyme leaves or thyme powder preferable to the leaves. I have two types of thyme, and I'll put bunches in a fish dish, but, say, in soups, it doesn't have the punch that thyme powder has. I remember the Two Fat Ladies saying that you don't need to grow thyme, because you can simply pilfer it from people's porches.

                      Bay leaves - I have bay tree. I have sometimes used dried bay leaves. I don't think that anyone really knows what the hell they taste like anyway.

                      Sage - while easy to grow here in several varieties, a nice almost semi dried sage is good for me if I'm being lazy. Been known to use a bit of dried when it is raining, even though I have out back.

                      1. re: rudeboy

                        Dried basil should be banned under the Geneva Convention. Horrid stuff.

                        1. re: Shazam

                          It doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.
                          Dried herbs are not all made equal.

                          1. re: monavano

                            No, it doesn't, but I'm making a meat sauce right now, and a healthy pinch of both dried basil and oregano went into the sauce. I don't want it overwhelmed with either herb, so the dried works for me in this instance.

                          2. re: Shazam

                            Dried basil is actually like the Geneva Convention - easy to ignore.

                          3. re: rudeboy

                            Herbs that are started from seed to early and experience a cold snap early in life will bolt much sooner then they should.

                    2. I see your point that those three in particular substitute well between dry and fresh, but would agree that many herbs don't? like basil and cilantro and mint and parsley.

                      I guess I just always assume that everybody has a pot of herbs growing somewhere.

                      Shockingly, we dropped down to 9 degrees here in SC this winter on two occasions. Looks like I've lost several "perenniel" herbs like thyme and parsley, so I'll be replanting those soon.

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: danna

                        Me too, still have hope but the mint and parsley don't look like they're coming back this year. Sad.....

                        1. re: coll

                          our mint in the garden comes back every year.....usually the thyme and rosemary as well....and we live in Boston. Well over 50 inches of snow this season and very cold temps. We do nothing special to protect them. However, it does take a long time for them to come back.......May, usually!

                          I've used dried mint successfully in some Greek recipes that specifically called for it, but there's nothing like the fresh mint in salads, appetizers, etc. Kind of like fresh basil vs. dried. Dried is fine in rubs and some stews, but you'll never get that fresh jolt of basil ness from it. Freezing the leftover fresh works if you are going to puree, which I do when we have a big harvest before the frost. I also can't think of anything that can substitute for fresh cilantro.

                          1. re: Madrid

                            Madrid, I'm in Boston as well. You just leave the thyme and rosemary in the garden (or in their pots) and let them "die" or freeze over, and they come back?

                            If yours are in a garden, they're getting a covering (and subsequent melt/watering) of snow and then water, whereas the ones in pots on my front porch have had little to no snow cover, so I suspect mine won't come back.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Mine do, in metro NY. You can't stop mint from coming back. Rosemary, oregano, thyme are very hardy.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Mint, I know, grows like a weed. I knew someone who put what they thought was a dead plant on the edge of the neighboring woods, and the next spring, they smelled mint when they mowed the lawn - it had spread into their grass. :-)

                                mcf, are your pots of herbs sheltered from storms? Again, mine would have gotten some snow cover, but not a lot as if they were in a garden.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Yes, I think I mentioned that I place the pots in a 2 foot or so space between our hot tub and a retaining wall for the winter. My Rosemary no so much, but so far, so good.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                okay, makes sense about the snow cover. I am not exactly an experienced gardner! We harvest before the first frost and then just leave them be, right in the yard. We'll see what comes back in May. Hope the oregano makes it as well. We did have a rose bush that didn't make it through a very very cold winter about ten years ago, but the herbs, shrubs, peonies, have always come back.

                                1. re: Madrid

                                  Oregano cannot be killed by snow or frost, IME. Let us know!

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    My oregano never comes back but the mint....I only grow chocolate, pineapple, lemon, all the wacky flavors. They always return, like the sparrows to Capistrano.

                                    The only other that comes back is parsley, and chives.

                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                  I'm in Boston too (well, just outside of it) and my thyme is indestructible. Parts of it will die back but then return with a vengeance. You can whack the snow off of the top of your thyme patch and harvest it for your dinner in the deepest of winter.

                                  Rosemary, as I recall, is supposed to be hardy to 25F but depending o your location it might do a little better than that. Mine grows liek gangbusters in the garden and then I dig it up and bring in side for the winter. It lives in the bathroom, which has Southern exposure and the most moisture (I spritz it every so often to keep the moisture up).

                                  My oregano used to come back too but it was too aggressive for me and now I yank it out every year.

                                  1. re: gimlis1mum

                                    I am in Boston as well and this year, I planted one of my robust rosemary plants in the ground. I will see in a few months how it fared. The plant that I brought indoors is dormant but so large that I am able to harvest year round.

                                    1. re: gimlis1mum

                                      Little moisture inside the house, which is why the past two winters, I've failed at the wintering over the rosemary inside the house. I do like the bathroom idea, however, and I could move it to the spare bedroom which gets lots of morning sun in the winter.

                                      Next year.

                                  2. re: Madrid

                                    Madrid and Linda, do you also do chives? I live in Montréal and these have always come back. But this has been a bitter winter in much more southerly parts of eastern North America.

                                    1. re: lagatta

                                      Our chives have always come back in Boston. We'll see what happens!

                                      1. re: lagatta

                                        I did chives in a container last summer, lagatta. But it was the first time, so not sure what will happen.

                                        1. re: lagatta

                                          I ran out into the flicker of sunshine this afternoon and noticed that the chives are emerging. Chives, in my experience, are hard to kill :-)

                                          1. re: lagatta

                                            If you break up the clumps every year or two, you can also double or triple your yield.

                                          2. re: Madrid

                                            I prefer dried mint in doogh, a yogurt drink. Fresh is too strong.

                                        2. re: danna

                                          Don't be so sure about thyme and parsley, they might come back. I have both in pots on my deck and they have survived brief periods of very cold weather. If I remember, I put the pots up against the house and throw a blanket over during very cold spells.

                                          1. re: tcamp

                                            I put mine in a protected space between the hot tub and a retaining wall. Fingers crossed. Rosemary thrives even when not well protected, I've found.

                                          2. re: danna

                                            We have thyme and parsley here( the parsley self sows, not truly perennial)in MA and we go down to 10 below regularly.

                                            1. re: danna

                                              I can still get fresh thyme, tarragon, sage and marjoram. I just clear away the snow and am happy. Although many of our herbs can't survive our harsh winters they preserve well.

                                              However there is now 3 feet of snow in the backyard and an even deeper drift over my small garden - that's after a period of thaw. I should be able to get at my plants again sometime next week. Until then we'll happily use dried.

                                            2. Because certain times, IME, the flavor of fresh is superior to dried.

                                              I personally can not imagine pesto made with dried basil. Or for that matter:

                                              A mojito made with dried mint

                                              Meatballs with dried parsley

                                              Leg of lamb with dried rosemary and garlic

                                              just to name a few

                                              1. I suppose the answer to the question is that, for many dishes, I prefer the flavour of fresh to dried.

                                                I grow a range of herbs in the garden, in amongst the flowering plants, as I don't have space for a separate "edibles" area, so cost is not an issue. Although, actually, cost is never an issue. If I need fresh basil - something I can't grow in our climate - then I buy fresh basil. I wouldnt dream of using dried - it simply doesnt have the fragrance.

                                                1. This isn't exactly answering your question, but my answers are already posted. BUT where I am, packets of fresh herbs are sold for $1.99, and huge bunches of parsley and cilantro for 69 cents. I don't want to pay it all the time, but it's not exactly a fortune. Also, there are ways to keep them well, like putting them end-up in a glass of water in the fridge, or wrapping in moist paper towels. And do keep an eye out when you need more than one herb at once -- my store sells a poultry mix (year-round) that includes rosemary, thyme, and sage, for the same price as the individual herbs.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: juster

                                                    Where I live (suburban NYC) fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary sell for $2.49 or more for a small bunch @ a regular supermarket & more @ the upscale ones like Whole Foods. Parsley & cilantro are cheaper. I think everyone is missing my point though.This is directed @ recipe creators who should try to post recipes that have been tried with both dry & fresh herbs. Of course many things cannot be made using dried herbs like pesto or chimichuri but many others can like my example of the roast pork.I never use dried parsley, mint but dried thyme, rosemary, oregano & basil have their applications. I think recipe authors frequently use fresh herbs because it makes them feel more culinary sophisticated, IMHO.

                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                      Yes, I agree. It would be nice for the recipe writer to note when either is a viable option. While I enjoy using fresh herbs when available, I too dislike spending several dollars on a small package from the grocery store which often isn't very good (flavorful). For soups, stews, and other long cooking dishes, dried works great, IMO.

                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                        I don't know where you're shopping, but "several dollars" is considerably more than even organic, leaves only at any store in suburban metro NY I shop at.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          Stew Leonard's shoprite stop and shop primarily where do you buy cheaper fresh herbs?

                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                            Wild by Nature, Waldbaums, Fairway. I think the little plastic thingies at Fairway are between $1.69 and $2.69 or so. I've never spent several dollars sometimes have spent close to 3, maybe, but not typically.

                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                            Parsley and cilantro are much cheaper but other fresh herbs are typically $2 and up for a smallish plastic package at Safeway, WF, and the like. This is for oregano, sage, rosemary, tarragon, etc. Periodically there are sales, of course.

                                                    2. The reason is simply that for most applications fresh herbs are better. If you want or need to use dried, do.
                                                      But not basil, mint or parsley.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: magiesmom

                                                        Dried mint appears in a goodly number of Middle Eastern recipes. I've never tried it, as during the warmer months, I've always got fresh in the garden (one of the few herbs I grow in pots, so as to contain the spreading)

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          This is true Harters. I cook a lot of ME foods, but the dried mint in ME countries differ than the dried mint you get in an American grocery store. American dried mint is the wrong kind and is tasteless. That is why so many folks give up trying to use it.

                                                          There are so many mint plants and hybrids! The dried mint used in most ME cuisines is more like peppermint, the dried mint mass produced in American grocery stores is more like spearmint.

                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                            Thanks for the explanation. Sounds like a trip to the Lebanese grocers is in order, to see what they have.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              I am jealous!

                                                              I have all kinds of "ethnic" grocers near me.....except Middle Eastern!

                                                              I grow my own, then dry some of it. The strongest peppermint dried out, still has some flavor left. It works.

                                                            2. re: sedimental

                                                              That's interesting you say that. My man's recipe for Armenian lamb shish kebab specifically calls for spearmint instead of "regular" dried mint.

                                                              I wonder now if his immigrant family made this adjustment when they moved to the US or if, indeed, they used spearmint while still in Armenia. Huh.

                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                Interesting. I don't know, there are so many types of mints. I confess to being a mint ho'. My newest favorite is apple mint!

                                                                Whenever I use spearmint in something fresh like tabouli, it just tastes weird. It has less of that menthol like compound that tastes fresh. I think that the darker American peppermint with the smaller leaves, tastes closer to the mints used in Turkey.

                                                                The vietnamese fresh mint sold near me at my Asian store is very different too. It is a milder peppermint flavor and likely crossed with something else. I have also bought them and they have had a "skunky" taste.

                                                                Whatever hybrid they use in dried mint sold in the grocery stores here, have almost no flavor to me.

                                                        2. I think the better question is why do supermarkets sometimes charge insane amounts for small tiny little packets of fresh herbs?

                                                          It is very frustrating to pay $6.99 for a few sprigs of whatever herb is in recipe x- and then see bunches of the same thing at an ethnic market for pennies - Which is why for stuff like that I try to shop around and not fall into the convenience trap, but it happens.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                            Herbs cost $6.99 where you live???

                                                            That makes me happy I'm in So. CA. I can get fresh mint, dill, tarragon, basil, thyme for $.50/bunch at the middle eastern/hispanic markets, or $.99-1.69 at the regular grocery store. I get parsley and cilantro from the ME/hispanic markets for 3/$1-8/$1, depending on the time of year.

                                                            As for the fresh versus dried, there are some applications where dried isn't an acceptable substitute. Sometimes you need that freshness. Pesto, tzatziki, chimichurri and salsa all need that freshness. You can't make a good salsa with dried cilantro, nor can you make pesto with dried basil. Likewise, if you are making a marinade for meat, the fresh herbs will give a stronger, fresher taste than the dried version. Dried rosemary does not have the same aggressive flavor that fresh rosemary has. It'll do in a pinch, but it's not the same.

                                                            1. re: boogiebaby

                                                              They're $2 max up here in snowland, I have no idea how JTPhilly is paying $6.

                                                              I've seen fresh Cilantro up here for 39 cents!

                                                              1. re: Shazam

                                                                Herb clamshells are generally $1.99 by me. We also have tiny clamshells for a buck.

                                                          2. I always have fresh herbs available-either purchased or growing. I can't imagine not having them as they are intergral to the cuisines I cook most.

                                                            I budget for them like I would anything else, not as an "extra". I also use dried herbs, but not too often....and in classic American or Americanized dishes only. I rarely cook those types of dishes....maybe a few times in the month. Other cuisines ...daily.

                                                            I think it depends on the way you cook and not so much about appearing "sophisticated" or being uninformed about substitutions.

                                                            1. Who are the "recipe posters" that you refer to? You mean users of this site? If so, they post recipes with fresh herbs because that's how they cook.

                                                              It seems to me that there's plenty of recipe options both in cookbooks and online for those that want to cook with dried herbs. There's no need to standardize on dried herbs.

                                                              12 Replies
                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                  I still don't know whether you are referring to site users, or the official writers for the site. It sounds like you mean the former.

                                                                  My question for you is this: why would hobby cooks who get no income for their work research and test substitutions for you?

                                                                  1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                    Besides, the basic substitution is 2 or 3x as much fresh herbs as you would use for dried herbs. So if a recipe calls for a Tbsp. of minced fresh rosemary, reverse it - I use a tsp. of dried....give or take slightly more or less, to taste.

                                                                    1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                      Most people cook with dried herbs. When I post a recipe I always try to give readers the option to use fresh or dried. To me its the same as listing measurements both by weight and volume. Simply a courtesy and more friendly to the masses.

                                                                      1. re: zackly

                                                                        Do you think most of us on CH home cooking threads cook with dried herbs?

                                                                        I would guess not, but now you've got me curious...

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          When it's not cilantro or dill, I do. (don't do much with basil, though I'd like fresh...)

                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                            YES, I think most CH's cook with dried herbs for much of the year, especially if they are like me and live in Northern climates or live in rural areas where groceries don't stock herbs other than parsley (and maybe cilantro).

                                                                            Might be fun to do a survey..

                                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                              I was thinking that it would be interesting, too. I live in a cold NE climate, especially this year! I'll be shocked if my thyme and oregano don't come back, not so shocked if the parsley doesn't.

                                                                          2. re: zackly

                                                                            So do you try all the the variations that you post? Because while lack of herb substitutions may be your pet peeve, untested recipes are mine. I'd prefer people to simply post what they do.

                                                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                              I'd prefer a person be experienced enough to talk you through the errors you might make.

                                                                              What to do if:
                                                                              you forgot the yeast
                                                                              you forgot the flour
                                                                              you forgot the sugar...
                                                                              (and yes, sometimes it is "toss it or choose a different recipe")

                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                That's what cookbooks and instructional videos are for, IMO.

                                                                            2. re: zackly

                                                                              I cook with both. And anytime I want fresh thyme, rosemary, or oregano, I just get it from the plants in my garden.

                                                                              From my 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking: "To substitute dried herbs for fresh, use 1/3 teaspoon powdered or 1/2 teaspoon crushed for every tablespoon fresh chopped herbs."

                                                                              So the person making the recipe with dried, rather than fresh herbs, can figure it out themselves.

                                                                      2. I agree. Herbs are super expensive at the grocery store. That's why I started growing them myself. At least for the summer, I have a constant supply at my fingertips. They are very easy to grow too!


                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: NancyChin

                                                                          Than pork belly curry picture has me salivating. Is there a link to the recipe anywhere? Thanks!

                                                                          1. re: NancyChin

                                                                            I agree. The cost of herbs is what made me first consider starting a garden. They are $2.99 a bunch here (except for parsley) and nearly always go bad before I can use them up.

                                                                          2. I think the reason so many recipes rely on fresh herbs is because until relatively recently they were cheap and easy to get hold of. Factory-dried, imported herbs were the weird expensive luxury items.

                                                                            But, at least in the industrialized world, fresh herbs took the same sad journey as whole grains, organic local vegetables, wine, wild-caught fish and pastured meat, and went from being cheap, wholesome, commonplace food for everybody, to being out of reach for most.

                                                                            20 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ninrn

                                                                              My memory is that fresh herbs have always been relatively expensive in the grocery store. Except for a few like rosemary they are highly perishable. They might not be expensive grow, but picking, handling, distributing is labor intensive.

                                                                              In 40 yrs of cooking, cilantro (to a lesser extent flat leaf parsley) is the only herb I buy with any frequency.

                                                                              Specifying fresh herbs (without giving dry alternatives) is like specifying kosher salt and EVOO - a sign the recipe writer is aspiring to 'chef' reputation.

                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                Lord, no. I specify those, and I'm just a good enough homey cook.

                                                                                They *taste* better to me, and that's what I aim for when I cook.

                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  Specifying kosher salt is "aspiring to chef status"? Hardly. I actually appreciate it when recipes list it because 1 T of fine grain table salt and kosher salt are not the same level of salinity in a dish.

                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                    Yes, due to its density difference, a tsp of kosher is not the same as a tsp of table salt. But for that matter, a tsp of Mortons kosher isn't the same as a tsp of Diamond. Or a tsp of Celtic gray sea salt.

                                                                                    Still recipe authors often specify kosher, or sea salt, when they don't need to.

                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      It's not iodized, it tastes better and if you buy right, it doesn't have dessicants added to it. And you need less for more flavor because of the size of the crystals.

                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                        Again, I just don't get the issue with specificity. Who cares if someone "needs" to specify what kind of salt they use? It's great to hear how people are actually cooking. In detail.

                                                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                                                      Kosher salt is a dollar store item and cleaning product - if it is specified in a recipe it is because of texture - very different than table salt but not fancy or chefy - specifying sea salt from a specific lagoon off the coast of morocco is another story

                                                                                      EVOO too is a basic ingredient - and distinct in flavor from other oils - if a recipe calls for it Cornola may not be a great substitute.

                                                                                      Fresh herbs cant always be replaced with dried - and when specified it is usually for a reason - why not provide the recipe at its best.

                                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                        I'd like to see pesto or tabouli made with dried herbs... Pause Not.

                                                                                      2. re: paulj

                                                                                        "Specifying fresh herbs (without giving dry alternatives) is like specifying kosher salt and EVOO - a sign the recipe writer is aspiring to 'chef' reputation."

                                                                                        Wait, what? I specify fresh herbs for one reason: Because once 20 years ago someone told me to try fresh herbs and I fell in love with them and they've been a central part of how I cook ever since.

                                                                                        If I specify a generous handful of mixed fresh herbs for a dinner omelet it's because that same omelet made the exact same way but with dried herbs will be an entirely different omelet---not because I'm trying to be cheffy or give a hoot about my reputation.

                                                                                        Specifying fresh herbs, or the kind of salt or olive oil used, just might be a sign the writer is aspiring to be specific---something we should encourage, not discourage or mock.

                                                                                        1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                          If you're going to only post recipes that are useful for 3 months out of the year... meh. who am I to judge?

                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                            But that's not the case. Herbs are cheaply available in stores for most folks, and easy to grow in pots indoors.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              If two dollars is your idea of cheap, I would like to introduce you to my budget, which is substantially larger than food stamps. Two dollars is most of my money for the day.

                                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                Dried is more expensive. Unless you buy or grow fresh and dry it yourself. If you have any sun in or near your home, you can grow them.

                                                                                            2. re: Chowrin

                                                                                              They may only be useful for three months out of the year for you where you live in your situation but that isn't the case for everyone (they never die here, for instance, herb plants can live for years so they are dirt cheap.) The onus is on the person making the recipe to make it if and when appropriate for them whether it be when herbs are in season and cheap or when they have the extra money and choose to to spend it on them.

                                                                                              I'd love to try some recipes for fiddlehead ferns but they are NEVER available here. Ever. That's not the recipe writers fault.

                                                                                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                "The onus is on the person making the recipe to make it if and when appropriate for them whether it be when herbs are in season and cheap or when they have the extra money and choose to to spend it on them."

                                                                                                And THAT is the crux of the issue. Use what you have available, and what you can afford and what you LIKE at the time you're making the recipe.

                                                                                                P.S. I'd ship some fiddleheads to you if I could. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Aw, thanks, LW. People keep telling me I would like them but it'll have to wait for a trip to the East Coast at the right time of year. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    Not every recipe is for every person. That doesn't mean they shouldn't all be posted.

                                                                                                2. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                  next time I need to refresh before posting!

                                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                    There's nothing to judge in the first place. Feel free to make whatever substitution you need to. But don't expect others to be mind readers and plan for all possibilities when posting their favorite recipe.

                                                                                              2. re: ninrn

                                                                                                Outside immigrant neighborhoods in cities, there wasn't ever a golden age of cheap, readily available fresh herbs at the market in the U.S.

                                                                                                When I was young (1950s-60s) there was exactly one fresh herb for sale in the supermarket: curly parsley. People who used mint, chives, tarragon, or dill grew it themselves.

                                                                                                In the 1970s, as more U.S.ians began cooking French, Italian, Chinese, Moroccan, etc. food, and as the number of immigrants from everywhere grew, fresh herbs began to be available from the growing number of Asian and Latin American groceries. The seventies also saw a surge of home gardening, which gave people exposure to fresh herbs still unavailable or rarely available in the supermarket.

                                                                                                In the 1980s, in response to demand from alll these changes, fresh herbs began to appear in supermarkets as a more regular thing.

                                                                                                They're not "out of reach for most", given the ease with which they can be grown. Like any other food, they're expensive when the fresh item is demanded out of season.

                                                                                              3. Sure there is plenty of room to sub dried herbs and I do it (rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme) fairly frequently. I do overwinter big pots of rosemary and bay in the house and will always have parsley and cilantro and frequently dill and thyme (there are a west indians who use a lot of thyme in brooklyn) in the refrigerator. I also have sage and sometimes others in the garden.

                                                                                                There is a difference however between fresh and dried - even if you can produce a perfectly fine dish using dried herbs there are times when the investment in fresh mint, marjoram or thyme kicks up and freshens the flavor substantially. Personally I will often make the choice for fresh but I think a decision to substitute the delicate fresh herb with dried for $ or convenience is valid

                                                                                                1. Yes, one ought to note both, where applicable.
                                                                                                  Where substitutions radically change the flavor, that ought to be noted (and perhaps a different herb suggested).

                                                                                                  1. zackily, what are you looking for? The way I read your OP, are you asking the recipe-writer to say "three stems of fresh orgeano or 1/4 teaspoon dried."?

                                                                                                    I'd just say "oregano." Whatever it is, you already know how much.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                      Yes, give the reader the option. They might not be an experienced cook and are afraid to vary in any way from the recipe.

                                                                                                      1. re: zackly

                                                                                                        That problem is bigger than can be solved by routinely specifying dried equivalents for fresh herbs.

                                                                                                    2. Fresh herbs are not expensive.

                                                                                                      Not when they are home-grown.

                                                                                                      The initial expense of a pot and potting soil (+ seeds and even plants if needed) is often soon negated given the harvest.

                                                                                                      When using dried herbs, simply use LESS, as they are often more pungent.

                                                                                                      1. Sounds fair. Since when I cook, I add as much/many herbs as seem right, to my taste, I will make sure any recipe I post lists herb use in the following way (as an example):

                                                                                                        "Add fresh thyme to taste, or an equivalent amount of dried thyme."


                                                                                                        1. Eh, sorry but I think it's cooking 101 to learn how to substitute dried and fresh. It's not something I'm going to bother doing every time I post a recipe.

                                                                                                          1. I have frequently seen recipes include x tablespoon(s) fresh or y teaspoon(s) dry. And if it isn't there, easy enough to search for the substitution info.

                                                                                                            One guess or two about why it's not always included is because either in the recipe author wants to present the very best version of the recipe, and/or is aware that many, many people have old dried herbs in their cabinets that are no longer a positive addition to any dish. :)

                                                                                                            Separately, I've found that many people aren't shy about making substitutions or changes from what is written. Look at most comment sections on food network recipes or the epicurious site. People write about substitutions on those sites and others all the time, and still feel free to comment on the success or failure of the recipe without following it to a "T".

                                                                                                            Personally, I am comfortable changing herbs, based upon what I like, or what I am tasting as I cook. Tasting as you cook is the kind of instruction I wish more recipes included.

                                                                                                            1. Once you have an idea of the equivalent amount of dried to use, just assume you can substitute if necessary.

                                                                                                              Herbs aren't expensive if you grow them, and many take so little space that even apartment dwellers can do them.

                                                                                                              There are some situations where it's crucial -- tabbouleh, which is mostly parsley, obv requires fresh; likewise basil for pesto -- but for most recipes it'll still be delicious, even if not quite as vibrant, to use dried.

                                                                                                              1. I use fresh herbs because that's what I like, and I post recipes with them because that's how I cook. I generally don't have a hard time using up the little containers, and I also grow my own in a raised bed. Here in Seattle most herbs last well into the fall, you can often harvest sage into December, and things like rosemary (which grows as big as VW Bugs here) and thyme are pretty much good to go all year (barring a nasty cold snap).

                                                                                                                The fresh-to-dried substitution ratio is pretty common knowledge and easy to find online if someone wants to make something without the fresh herbs. And of course people can just ask about decent substitutions. Folks on this board, in my experience, are incredibly generous with their thyme.

                                                                                                                1. Well, first of all, this is Chowhound, not Cheaphound. Enthusiastic amateurs on the discussion boards are sharing the things they actually try. I think it's ridiculous to ask them to change the way they cook, and it's not useful to the community to ask them to make recommendations they don't actually recommend.

                                                                                                                  The second point is that I find it vaguely insulting to imply that the average Chowhound is a mindless zombie, following recipes to the "T" and unable to work around the fresh herb dilemma.

                                                                                                                  It's so easy to work around it, too. Choose recipes without the herbs (Hounds are posting them everyday). Grow your own. Freeze the extras. Take the bus out to the suburbs if it is a must-try recipe. Google the substitutes.

                                                                                                                  It's a pet peeve of mine when commenters to some of the popular food blogs post and whine that there's no information about their personal substitution tastes. "Can you use flax seed instead of eggs?" "I want to use Splenda in this caramel recipe. Why don't you provide info on that?" They seem to expect the poster to go down some really untasty culinary by-ways instead of doing the work themselves.

                                                                                                                  All that said, you can be a real asset to the community if you make the fresh-herby recipe with dried herbs, and post about your results. As a professional chef, you'll know what you are doing, and you can encourage some of us newer chefs who aren't confident about substitutions.

                                                                                                                  But I think it's unfair to expect the average hound to try to make less-than-delicious food as a public service. (Some will -- this board is great, and also I applaud the threads where people try to help others make healthier, delicious, cheaper foods. But it shouldn't be a requirement -- it'll make the data pool of delicious food poorer.)

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                      Well then you must produce dishes that never vary? I can not imagine a cook who is unable to be flexible and substitute an ingredient and still produce a delicious dish.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                        I think their point is that the flexibility and substitutions are up to the reader, not the recipe poster.

                                                                                                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                                                            Interesting. I no longer use cookbooks but IIRC many of them had pages that listed substitutions. A courtesy prior to the internet I suppose.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                              If someone is smart enough to find recipes that interest them on the Internet, they should be smart enough to research ingredient substitutions on the same Internet.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                I was merely pointing out that many cookbooks used to have pages devoted to substitutes/adjustments etc. Helpful for a rookie.

                                                                                                                              2. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                I don't think it's a matter of courtesy, I think it's a matter of changing opinions about acceptable substitutions. I have lots of old cookbooks that list dried equivalents, but no recent cookbooks that do so. And, again, chowhound posters shouldn't be held to cookbook author standards anyway---we're just here to share how we cook in our own homes.

                                                                                                                          2. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                            I don't expect recipes here at all. To me, this board needs to go back to it's roots, and leave recipes elsewhere.....and cookbook talk on a separate board next to cookware. Not that I haven't taken part in it, but this board should be about methods.

                                                                                                                          1. It should have been "so darned expensive" and included things like "Insects!" and "clumps of dirt", then you would have been on to something. Or, you use ingredients, seasonally

                                                                                                                            1. Why do all these recipes use the easiest to grow of all plantssss whyyyyyyy I ask whyyyyyy

                                                                                                                              1. To me it seems obvious it depends on which herbs for which recipe, and if you grow your own, where you garden. Most things I cook with grow easily here in N Cal, and some grow like weeds, but I can't seem to grow mint ( I know, right?), can grow parsley and cilantro only in "the winter", and only recently found a source for culantro/shadow benni/ gai something or other. I REALLY would like to grow that, and MIL's version of "big leaf thyme".

                                                                                                                                All that aside, it's great to know when fresh matters. I think among other things, fresh parsley, cilantro, and basil really matters.

                                                                                                                                Okay, NVM; it's all been said.

                                                                                                                                1. I often substitute dried for fresh (except for parsley, mint, basil and cilantro), especially in the winter. I also dry some of the herbs I grow in the summer and then stuff them into empty dried herb jars, and use them until they run out. You could do the same with the fresh herbs you buy at the market so they won't go to waste if you don't plan to use them up quickly.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                    I like having different ingredients in different seasons. A lot of winter cooking is dry herb friendly, I find.

                                                                                                                                  2. Dried herbs often have no flavor at all, especially leafy ones like basil, parsley and cilantro. Dried rosemary and thyme are only pale shadows of fresh. On the other hand, dill weed and oregano have plenty of flavor (though fresh oregano is very different).

                                                                                                                                    Fresh herbs don't go into a long-cooked dish at the beginning, but are added at the last minute. There's nothing like chiffonade (a teaspoon of chopped fresh basil, thyme or rosemary) to enliven veggies or meats. It's easy to keep small pots of herbs on the window sill.

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: krsmav

                                                                                                                                      Fresh herbs go into long cooked braises at the beginning, bundled and tied together in a lot of recipes, including mine.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        I have moved somewhere in between you two... Adding in fresh herbs during the last hour of the braise.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: souvenir

                                                                                                                                          I like a combination: a base added at the beginning, then a second helping just before serving.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                                                                            That works well with herbs that can take a long braise, like thyme. Jerry Traunfeld (of Herbfarm) has a really excellent pork recipe braised with Bosc pears that uses the two-layer approach with thyme

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                              Great point. I was going to mention that the long braise obviously doesn't work with all herbs, but somehow forgot.

                                                                                                                                              I have the Herbal Kitchen on the kitchen counter and love it. A few of the recipes have slightly missed the mark, but at least they always point me in a great direction. Haven't tried that pork recipe, but definitely will now. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                                                                              Thyme, parsley, rosemary, bundled and tied work very well in long cooks. Sometimes with bay leaf. I don't tend to sprinkle much other than parsley just before eating, if any, on winter braises, but always the rest of the year and anywhere I can.

                                                                                                                                      2. To me it smacks of elitism & culinary snobbery using trendy ingredients. The most obvious is listing only Extra Virgin Olive Oil when Pure, Pomace or Blended Olive Oil or simple vegetable oil would be a better choice both for flavor & function. Heating EVOO is frequently a waste of money and too strongly flavored for many dishes plus it smokes @ a low temperature and the heat mitigates the health benefits vs regular oil.When I got out of the CIA in the mid-seventies everyone was including Herbs de Provence in their recipes. I guess it made them feel worldly?

                                                                                                                                        28 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                          It smacks of elitism and snobbery to use fresh herbs? Really?

                                                                                                                                          I guess I'm sometimes elitist and snobbish. :::shrug:::

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              Gah! I knew it!!! Do you wear your tiara when you cook too??


                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                Oh, silly foodieX2 - of COURSE I do! It adds that certain panache, don't you think? ;-)

                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                Who knew fresh herbs were trendy. My mom and grandmother must be trendsetters as they've been using the herbs they grow for a very long time.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                  Hmmm...zackly, My Grandmother always told us kids to cook with the freshest and best ingredients we could AFFORD. I never knew that was "elitism and culinary snobbery" from a woman that had so little money she had to hand make her family all of their clothes.

                                                                                                                                              3. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                That just sounds like some kind of personal chip on your shoulder. If the person who wrote the recipe prefers fresh herbs, so what? If you prefer to use dried, use dried.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                  I don't think I've ever felt worldly by using Herbes de Provence. I mean, they're pretty much required ingredients for ratatouille and daube.

                                                                                                                                                  I also use them, non-traditionally, in tumbet. Makes me a bit of a smartarse, perhaps, but still not wordly.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                    Agree about cooking EVOO. But that's because people don't understand the ingredient. I remember being appalled at reviews of EVOOS on amazon in the $20-30/.5l range. A surprising number of reviewers were sautéing with their oil.

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure this is the same issue as herbs, though. Old cookbooks have only a very limited use of herbs and usually only dried. But it is much more common to cook with fresh herbs now. If I need herbs I go to the local grocer and fresh thyme, mint, oregano, marjoram, sage, chives, and tarragon from a bulk bin and buy in whatever quantity I need, which never amounts to more than a dollar or two. Twenty years ago I would've had to buy an entire bunch, and forty years ago the herbs would have been difficult to find (had I been cooking). Times are just changing.

                                                                                                                                                    You are right that both professionals and hobbyists do things that aren't really necessary. Some of it is just getting swept up in the spirit of the times, or just having fun in the kitchen, and maybe for pros there is a cynical aspect too. But I don't imagine anyone is going to change the times.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                                                                      I only have extra virgin in the house. The supermarket own label stuff is very reasonably priced - in fact at the moment cheaper than the ordinary olive oil - at the equivalent of $6.35 a litre. It gets used for just about everything, including frying, where I don't want to use my Mallorcan or Palestinian oil.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                        I know what you are saying. I too get decent EVOO cheap enough to use as cooking oil. I cook with it sometimes, or use peanut or grape seed for a neutral flavor. But the point remains that this is not really a good application for EVOO.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                                                                          Why does every chef on tv use it then?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                            My point exactly! They shouldn't be.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                              I never knew that. I cook with evoo all the time, and of course, use milder oil when it's appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                              do you sauté with $50 per liter oil?

                                                                                                                                                              I'd say chefs on TV want to look good, don't pay for ingredients, and don't end up serving the food they make.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                                                                                Agreed, I generally keep these oils in my house:

                                                                                                                                                                EVOO, primarily for cold, bold preparations like rouille & as a finishing oil.
                                                                                                                                                                Pure Olive Oil-I saute with this alone or mixed with butter
                                                                                                                                                                Vegetable Oil-when I want a neutral flavor. I like corn oil
                                                                                                                                                                Grape Seed- for searing & other high heat cooking
                                                                                                                                                                Peanut Oil-in my deep fryers

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                  I would never have corn or grapeseed or canola in the house. Peanut once a year for deep fried Thanksgiving turkey.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                i don't watch any cooking shows, but most of those people are tv personalities and NOT chefs. and guys like batali and emeril who actually have restaurants? their cooks are not sauteeing in evoo, for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm talking about real chefs, like Anne Burrell.
                                                                                                                                                                  And I don't get why evoo shouldn't be used to saute. It's good and good for you.
                                                                                                                                                                  Anyways, I'm not changing my cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                    It's good for you until it's heated too hot and the compounds start to breakdown but from what I've read at most sauteing temperatures this isn't really an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                      Emeril belongs in that group, reliable sources have told me.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                        BTW, I really like Anne Burrell's cooking but as a chef, she's a terribly sloppy recipe writer! Steps left out for ingredients on the list never to be called for, etc...

                                                                                                                                                                        Now SHE should be doing better at that.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                          She seems to fly by the seat of her chef's jacket.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                        Batali advocates deep frying in extra virgin olive oil sometimes. Everything has its use sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, he does. That's a lot of olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                            i don't care what batali says on tv -- he's not dropping gallons of evoo into his fryolators.

                                                                                                                                                                            as mentioned above, i don't keep canola or any seed oils in the house. however, i am not cooking for hundreds of diners everyday. the chefs i have worked for most often used pomace oil or a blend of canola/grapeseed/olive for high heat cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                            cheap places use canola or soy.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                          They don't. Most I see use canola oil.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                                                                                          Costco has avocado oil for a great price; I've begun using that for high smoke point cooking. But I choose to buy EVOO that I know is unadulterated, and I cook with it, too.

                                                                                                                                                                          Costco's Toscan and Arbequina in glass bottles are wonderful for the price.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, but just a humble soup maker nowadays.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                        There is nothing humble about soup. It can be elevated to the best damn thing I've ever eaten, depending on the soup.

                                                                                                                                                                        And it can be garnished with fresh herbs. ;-)
                                                                                                                                                                        (just a playful tease, zackly!)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          Linda slightly OT.....

                                                                                                                                                                          I just picked up a sublime soup from WF-creamy zucchini basil. I have researching recipes so I can try my hand at it.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm just a bit surprised that a trained chef would have this view of fresh herbs, on cost, "elitism" and waste.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                            I am a frugal cook and I cook with both fresh & dried herbs although they're frequently not interchangeable. My point is fresh herbs can be pricey, unavailable or poor quality depending on the season & what people have access to. It's a nice gesture to offer dried alternatives. The same with EVOO. Frequently not the best choice but it's become ubiquitous in recipes so people spend 2-3X the money that they need to.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                              Of the 3 herbs you mentioned, I'd use fresh rosemary, and sub dried for the other 2.
                                                                                                                                                                              Dried herbs can really work. Of course some herbs don't translate well when dried, and you need the real thing.
                                                                                                                                                                              What I wonder is why can't you use them up?
                                                                                                                                                                              Freeze them, ice cube them...
                                                                                                                                                                              Heck, dry them!
                                                                                                                                                                              There's no waste of fresh herbs in my house, and I'm just a home cook!
                                                                                                                                                                              I choose to spend for quality, and I'm as frugal as they come.
                                                                                                                                                                              Life is short, and I deserve it, so I buy that lemon for $.80 because the bottled stuff is shit. I have shallots on hand at all times. I have fine vinegars. I buy fresh herbs because they taste and smell amazing and they enrich my cooking and where I live, they are never hard to find and do not depend upon season.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                To be frugal means not to waste, to use all you have. You're talking about compromising on flavor to save a buck, even though dried herbs can be, and often are purchased in a much more costly form.

                                                                                                                                                                                What's your concern with other people's choices?

                                                                                                                                                                        3. So we should avoid fresh herbs because they're expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                          And trendy ingredients because....they're trendy? Is there a list of those?

                                                                                                                                                                          And extra virgin olive oil (even though that's probably the only cooking oil a lot of people even buy precisely because it is in so many recipes).

                                                                                                                                                                          What are we going to be left with after we finish up a list of things we should avoid in the name of courtesy?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I haven't been in awhile, but back when I lived near a Whole Foods, they had fresh herbs available in bulk bins. Need one spring of rosemary? You could buy it there.

                                                                                                                                                                            For me personally since I'm on a strict budget, I plan my meals ahead and if one recipe calls for rosemary (and it's winter), I plan out recipes to do later that week or the following week that also use rosemary. That way I have a good chance of using up the entire package.

                                                                                                                                                                            I also frequently do as another poster does... buy the "poultry mix" that's available. Less quantities of the 3 different herbs.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow I wish they had that here. I love the poultry mix, it's very convenient and the herb I buy most often.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Yeah I've thrown out a lot of unused fresh herbs but they simply taste different from dried. I root them if I can but often they perish before being used up. I just chalk it up to food costs which when you cook at home is usually much lower than going out.

                                                                                                                                                                              As you might gather I'd usually rather eat at home over going out unless it's for something I can't do better. We don't go out much except socially and even then I'd rather my wife invite friends over. It often cost me less to feed 4-6 people at home over the two of us eating out so a few wasted herbs I don't sweat

                                                                                                                                                                              1. When I lived in California, many of my neighbours used rosemary plants as low hedges in their yards. I'd go pick a few sprigs whenever I needed them. Not so much now that I'm in New Mexico, although I should be able to find some wild sage if I look hard enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think it's the cook's responsibility to figure out substitutions. I make lots of recipes that call for ingredients I can't afford or don't have and most of them turn out great. Some of them don't, but that's on me, not the recipe. I think that most home cooks, whether on a tight budget or not, base meals around what they have on hand. Learning to substitute all kinds of things is just a basic skill of home cooking. Substituting dried herbs for fresh is one of the easier substitutions, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                                  Subbing dried herbs is pretty standard, and most recipes tell you the swap measurements.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure, but I would never *expect* a recipe to give me the exact measurements, or get offended if it didn't. You can't know what any particular person has or does not have in their kitchen and you can't expect every recipe to be customized for your particular needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                                      Every recipe doesn't need to give the substitute. Any home cook should know how to sub dried.
                                                                                                                                                                                      It's not hard to figure out.
                                                                                                                                                                                      And I didn't say anything about being offended. That makes no sense whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ooooh! You were agreeing with me. Sorry. I thought you were arguing (or at least debating). ;) I was referring more to the vague tone of offense in the original post than to what you said.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                                          Definitely agreeing!
                                                                                                                                                                                          We're on the same page, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. My supermarket has a packet called "poultry bouquet", which is a mix of a few sprigs of thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary. I pull out what I need for a specific recipe and save the rest for something else. It's the smart price as the individual packs of fresh herbs- about $1.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. lots of replies, but i remain pretty confused by the op. you're a trained chef but wonder why recipes don't provide measures for dried and fresh herbs? a simple google can turn that up and many older recipes do provide that -- even if the flavors are not direct substitutes. many supermarkets have slow turn-over on dried herbs and they are jars of vaguely green dust, so not worth using at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                    i no longer have any space to grow herbs, but DO have the option of shopping at asian and middle-eastern markets where giant bunches of herbs are cheap all year. if i have left-over herbs? they go in a bag in the freezer and get used for broths later. no waste. i often make compound butters too. i shop in those same stores for many dried herbs too because the inventory moves so quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    dried thyme and bay are staples in my cooking as background notes. they are not the same as fresh and i don't expect them to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                    most of us are on budgets. if my option is a cello-pak of a few leaves for $4, i pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                      My only real confusion about the OP is that it reads to me as though zackly wants people posting their own recipes on this site (i.e., home cooks) to figure out substitutions for their recipes. That seems to me to be asking for a level of dedication of time and possibly expertise that most don't have and is odd to me to expect.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a different discussion entirely if one were to assert that cookbooks and recipes on professional sites (Food Network, Cook's Illustrated) should include substitutions. I still don't think I'd agree, but I would see the point much more clearly.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. Professional recipe developers have testers or at least ought to. A chat board is a different beast.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, I've re-thought this and it is unfair to ask a home cook to do this unless of course they've made the recipe both ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. http://www.splendidtable.org/episode/554
                                                                                                                                                                                        at 38:20 Lynne talks about buy inexpensive herbs at Asian markets, and freezing what she doesn't need right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I thought of this thread while at the market today picking up thyme and sage for 1.99 each.