When cooking with the fresh herbs you grow, the only rule is to please yourself and your guests. The following table lists flavorful herb and food combinations and herb substitutions, if you should find yourself suddenly out of your favorite herb. Use it to experiment and learn which herbal flavors you enjoy most.
Some general rules of thumb when cooking with fresh herbs:
- Flavors will vary. Taste your herbs before you add them to your cooking.
- Freshly picked herbs will start losing their flavor if stored for days.
- Tender herb leaves, like basil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel and parsley should be shopped just before use and added at the end of cooking, to retain their flavor.
- Thicker and woodier herbs, like bay, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary can be adding during the cooking process to allow them time to meld with the other flavors.
- Thicker herb leaves, like rosemary and sage, can be very pungent and should be finely chopped and used sparingly or added whole and removed before serving.
- To substitute dried herbs for fresh, the general rule is:1 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped = 1 tsp. Crumbled Dry = 1/4 tsp. Ground Dry
|Basil||Most vegetables. Anything to do with tomatoes.||Marjoram, Mint, Anise|
|Bay||Used mainly in soups and stews, where the flavor can develop.||Thyme|
|Chives||Salads and Cold Plates||Scallions / Green Onions|
|Cilantro||Salsa, Asian and Caribbean Dishes||Flat-leaf Parsley. Spicy Basils.|
|Dill||Fish, Chicken, Eggs, Salad, Beans, Carrots, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Potatoes, Pickles & Sour Cream or Yogurt Dips.||Caraway|
|Lemon Grass||Thai Dishes, Chicken, Beef, Curry, often combined with coconut milk.||Lemon Zest|
|Lemon Verbena||Fish, Poultry, Marinades, Salad Dressing, Jams, Sauces, Teas.||Lemon Grass, Lemon Zest|
|Mint||Lamb, Eggplant, Desserts, Teas, Salads, Vegetables, Fruits.||Spicy Basils|
|Oregano||Beef, Chicken, Pasta, Tomatoes, “Blacken” Rub||Marjoram, Mint, Basil|
|Rosemary||Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Pork, Potatoes, Stews||Oregano, Spicy Basils|
|Sage||Poultry, Beans, Stuffing, Pasta||Thyme, Summer Savory|
|Savory (Summer)||Vegetables, Fruits, Cheese||Winter Savory, Marjoram|
|Tarragon||Chicken, Eggs, Fish||Anise, Fennel|
|Thyme||Poultry, Eggs, Stews, Vegetables||Lemon Basil|