Fresh Herbs

Many farmers grow herbs and offer fresh herbs for sale at the market. This week we will offer food demonstrations on using fresh herbs. Below is some basic info to get you started. There are many resources on line that will give you much more info. Be adventurous and learn what herb combinations you like.

Fresh herbs keep longer if stored with cut ends in water and tops lightly covered with a plastic bag. (If you have the room, store celery and scallions the same way.)

Many fresh herbs can be frozen. Wash and mince them (if the leaf is not already very small), place 1 or 2 tablespoons of herbs in each compartment of an ice-cube tray, add water to cover, and freeze the herbs. When they have frozen, remove them from the tray and store the herbs in a labeled container or a plastic bag.

Fresh herbs can be dried. Wash, dry, and hang them upside down in a dry, warm room. Crumble them when they have thoroughly dried.

When substituting dried herbs for fresh ones, use about one-third the amount called or in the recipe. However, in some recipes, such as pesto or tabbouli, fresh herbs are essential. One teaspoon of frozen chopped chives is approximately equal to one tablespoon of fresh chives. If your dried seasonings re more than a year old, they may have lost some verve; increase the amount needed by about 25 percent, or crumble the herbs in your hands or lightly crush them in a mortar with pestle to compensate. (Info from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book)

Herbs are used in so many ways to add flavor to food it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Some super easy starting points are dressings, sauces and butter.

Butter combined with -anything- is called Compound Butter. Herbed Compound Butter is as simple as mixing one or more chopped herbs into softened butter, salt and pepper to taste, as a minimum.  Use right away or store for later/extended use. To store for later use, form the Compound Butter into a log using a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and roll to shape into a log, removing the air, twist ends then refrigerate or freeze. This is just a jumping off point.

Sauces:
Yogurt Mint Sauce: 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch of salt or more to taste. Mix ingredients in bowl and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce: 1 bunch cilantro, stemmed, finely chopped, juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon honey, 5 ounces plain yogurt. Combine sauce ingredients and let stand 30 minutes.

Dressings:

Herb Vinaigrette:

Herb Vinaigrette:

To make the dressing: in a small food processor, combine all ingredients and blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute until emulsified.

One of many other resources:

3 Five-Minute Fresh Herb Salad Dressings