Whether in your garden or from a farmer’s market or grocer, fresh herbs can create fresh flavors in your kitchen. Fresh herbs can be added as a finish to green salads, sautéed vegetables, bruschetta, pizzas, dips, salsas and dressings…. the possibilities are endless. And if you are substituting fresh herbs for dried in a recipe, use a 3:1 ratio.
Here are some tips to help with the use and storage of fresh herbs:
- Pick herbs frequently if home grown. Snip chives often for a sturdy plant with frequent new leaves. Parsley and cilantro, whose new growth comes from the middle, should be picked working from the outside, in. Basil should be picked from top. Scissors are best to trim herbs.
- Wash herbs gently. Fill a salad spinner with cold water and swirl the herbs gently loosen any dirt. Drain the water and spin the herbs dry.
- Store Sturdy Herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, chives) by arranging them in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel. Loosely roll up the paper towel and transfer to a plastic zipper lock bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator, 2-3 weeks.
- Store Tender Herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, tarragon) by snipping off the bases of the stems. Transfer them to a large jar with an inch of water in the bottom. Seal the jar by covering it with a plastic bag sealed with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator 2-3 weeks.
- Store Basil by snipping off the bases of water at the bottom. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Avoid direct sunlight.
Basil-Mint-Parsley Pesto (makes 1 cup)
1-1/2 cup basil
½ cup mint
¼ cup parsley
½ cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic
½ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
1/4 cup EVOO
In a food processor, blend garlic and nuts. Add basil, mint, parsley and cheese. Occasionally scrape down sides to blend evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly drizzle the olive oil to blend. Adjust oil amount, as needed, for proper consistency.