Almost everything I cook has a fresh or dried herb in it—and even if you barely cook, I’d bet you have at least a couple of jars of dried herbs in your kitchen. But as I explain this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, drying fresh herbs yourself, whether homegrown or store-bought, is an easy DIY project that will result in far better flavor and cost far less than commercially packed jars of dried leaves.
The column focuses on tips that will help you successfully dry a range of fresh herbs, but the first step may be to grow your own. Many herbs grow well in pots on a windowsill or deck. If you have more space, you can plant many types of perennial herbs now and see them pop up on their own year after year. Some can even grow until they produce seeds that you can save to cook with or to replant, such as fresh cilantro and its seed, coriander. And like sourdough starter, herbs love to be used: the more you cut them to use fresh or to dry, the more they grow and produce.
Learn more about drying herbs in my column.
Twice as Tasty
Although I’ve already started to think about drying herbs, I use plenty of them fresh, straight from the garden. A small, fenced herb spiral sits outside my front door, making it easy to snip a few sorrel leaves, a handful of chives, or several edible calendula blossoms straight onto a bowl of salad. I let other herbs, like mint and oregano, naturalize into wild corners of the yard that otherwise tend to fill with weeds.
So while you’re playing with herbs, you may want to try some of my recipes that use fresh ones and recently have been published off the blog:
- Parsley: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Spinach
- Cilantro, parsley, and mint: Baked Falafel
- Chives and sorrel: Herbed Bean Salad
- Various fresh herbs: Veggie-Stuffed 3-Egg Omelet
You can find many other recipes that use fresh or dried herbs in the blog’s recipe index.
I use lots of homegrown herbs and spices when pickling. Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic, a digital collection in an easy-to-read PDF format; it’s only available here.