How to substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs

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Dried herbs are pungent so you need to take care when adding them to dishes: here’s how to substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs in a recipe so you don’t overpower the dish.

– Use a third of the amount of dried herbs to fresh herbs. For example, if a recipe says to use 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh oregano, use 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.

– Always fry the dried herbs in oil or butter first to release their flavour – just adding them to a stock or stew won’t deliver enough flavour to the dish.

– Use dried herbs within six months once you have opened the package. They should smell fragrant and if you can’t identify the herb from the aroma, throw them out and buy more.

– Bags of herbs cost less in the Asian supermarkets but you’ll probably have more than you need: share the extra with friends and get them to buy dried herbs and spices that you need and do a swop.

– Dried herbs are not a direct replacement for fresh herbs – dried mint for example adds a different note to a dish than fresh mint and both can be excellent in their own way. A stuffing with dried sage and thyme is as good as a stuffing made with fresh herbs, it’s just different. Some dried herbs are better than others to cook with: we use dried sage, thyme, marjoram, mint, dill and oregano but don’t use parsley, coriander, chives and basil because for us, they add little or no value.


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