dried herbs

Tips for Substituting Dried and Fresh Herbs

The difference between fresh and dry herbs isn’t as cut and dry as you might think. While many fresh herb die-hards will insist that the drying process always reduces the flavor and potency of the herb, this isn’t the case with all herbs. The differences in flavor between plants before and after the drying process is something every cook should be aware of before making substitutions, and this general guide is a great place to start.

Basic Substitutions
For all herbs, substituting dried herbs for fresh herbs should happen in a 1:3 ratio. 1 teaspoon of dried herbs will generally equate to 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs. However, some herbs taste different when they’re dried, and their altered textures and flavors should be taken into account.

Great Dried Herbs
The following herbs retain a good deal of their flavor and potency even when dried. If you don’t think you will use these herbs very frequently or can’t find good prices on the fresh stuff, these options are great additions to your pantry. It’s important to note, however, that dried herbs will tend to lose flavor over time, so the older they are, the less flavorful they will be.

  • Bay leaves
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Herbs Best Bought Fresh
To be fair, most green, leafy herbs are going to taste better fresh by default, but these herbs in particular lose a lot of their potency and flavor in the drying process and are usually best fresh.

  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Parsley

If you don’t think you will use the fresh herbs quickly enough and don’t want to stock up on too many dried, you may also want to consider freezing your fresh herbs or growing your own indoor herb garden for convenience!

Photo Credits: Urban Garden Casual, The Free GeorgeCooks Info

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