Veganomics Lesson Eight: Which is better, dried herbs or fresh herbs?
Above: Are fresh herbs better than dried? Continue reading to find out…
We’ve already learned how to check if dried herbs have gone stale, but are dried herbs even worth it? Conflicting reports from various sources are questioning the validity of dried herbs in the kitchen. Here is a breakdown of the differences between dried and fresh herbs:
Potency: The Food Network states that dried herbs are 3 times more potent than fresh herbs, but without the same “purity of flavor.” Other sources, however, contest dried herbs have no flavor and no place in the kitchen. The most common conversion rate is 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
Cost: Initially, dried herbs will most likely cost more than fresh herbs. A bottle of dried basil, however, will probably contribute to more dishes than a bunch of fresh basil. On the other hand, a potted herb plant can potentially yield unlimited uses for a slightly higher price.
Longevity: Dried herbs will obviously outlast fresh herbs, unless you can care for a potted herb plant. This can also depend on if the plant can grow at the rate it is needed for use in the kitchen.
Taste: Hands down, most any source will herald the taste of fresh herbs over dried herbs. A bit different from potency, fresh herbs have an earthy taste that dried herbs cannot replicate.
Verdict:From reading expert (and some not-so-expert) opinions, as well as my own personal experience, fresh herbs win. To make fresh herbs cost effective, try your hand at growing a small herb garden of your favorites. My personal choices: basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme. Other good choices: parsley, sage, and lavender (for no other reason then its lovely scent in the kitchen).
Homework: Start a small collection of potted herbs, starting with my new basil plant. I have kept it alive for almost a week! Next step: mint.
Above: Potted basil plant, a Farmer’s Market find for $4.