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Food glossary

Herbs

Herbs

Dried

Dried herbs are a convenient form of herbs and are quick and easy to use. They have a more concentrated flavour than fresh herbs - 1 tsp dried herbs is equivalent to 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs. Add dried herbs at the beginning of a recipe so the flavour has time to develop.

Uses: In all cooked dishes where the herbs will be reconstituted in liquid eg sauces, soups, casseroles. Dried herbs are not suitable for using as a garnish.

To store: Keep dried herbs in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. They will keep their flavour for up to 6 months but are best bought in small quantities. To check for freshness, smell the herbs - if the aroma has gone, the flavour will have diminished too and the herbs should be discarded.

Dried mixed

A variety of ready-mixed herbs are available. They are a quick and convenient way of adding several flavours to a recipe in one go. Mixed herbs may consist of a combination of parsley, rosemary, basil, marjoram, thyme and coriander.

Fresh cut

Choose these when you need a specific amount of one herb for a recipe. Buy as and when you need them, because they tend to wilt and lose their flavour quite quickly.

Uses: As a flavouring and garnish for a wide range of cooked and raw dishes including salads, pasta sauces, dressings, vegetable, meat and fish dishes.

To store: Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

To cook: Add chopped or torn mixed leafy herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander or tarragon at the end of cooking to get maximum flavour and retain texture. Woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme can be added at the beginning of cooking and their flavour will gradually develop.

Fresh growing

If you use lots of fresh herbs, or have particular favourites these are the best choice. They come in pots and continue to grow once you have bought them.

Uses: As a flavouring and garnish for a wide range of cooked and raw dishes including salads, pasta sauces, dressings, vegetable, meat and fish dishes.

To store: Place on a sunny windowsill and water following the instructions on the packet. Fresh growing herbs may last up to 3-4 weeks.

To prepare: Cut the required amount from the plant and use as required.

To cook: Add chopped or torn mixed leafy herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander or tarragon at the end of cooking to get maximum flavour and retain texture. Woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme can be added at the beginning of cooking and their flavour will gradually develop.

Herbs de Provence

A mixture of dried herbs from the Mediterranean, containing thyme, rosemary, savoury, oregano, bay leaves and basil. A convenient way to add several herbs to a dish without having to measure them out individually.

Uses: In tomato, fish and poultry dishes, on pizzas and in pasta sauces.

Italian seasoning

A handy combination of ready-mixed herbs and spices for an authentic Italian flavour. An aromatic mixture of basil, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, paprika, oregano and savoury.

Uses: In pasta sauces and on pizzas or in chicken and pork main dishes.