Cooking tips for the caring cook.
Best Practices for Chopping Herbs
- To chop herbs, place the leaves in a glass measuring cup or small bowl and cut them into tiny pieces with Herb Scissors, using short, quick strokes.
- Another effective tool for chopping herbs is a Mezzaluna Chopper, a curved blade that chops as you rock it from side to side on a cutting board.
- Chop your herbs with a chef's knife on a cutting board or snip them with a kitchen scissors. To speed cutting with a scissors, cut herbs coarsely into a small bowl or cup and snip back and forth with your scissors.
- When using fresh herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, etc., hold them together in small bunches and snip with kitchen scissors. It is a lot faster this way, and you'll find the herbs will be light and fluffy, not bruised and wet as they often get when chopped.
- Be careful if using a food processor to cut herbs as it's easy to turn them to a paste rather than tiny pieces.
Healthy Cut Herbs
A well-tended herb garden should supply your kitchen with fresh herbal flavors all summer long. If the herbs are not harvested properly, your supply can dwindle prematurely. Following are a few tips.
- Basil, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme should be cut through the stem, above a set of leaves, removing one-third to one-half of the stem. The plant will grow two new branches where it was cut.
- Angelica, chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel and parsley should be cut at the base of the stem. New growth will emerge from the center of the plant.
- Tarragon, lemon and verbena and chives should be cut within an inch of the ground. Tarragon and lemon verbena should be cut mid-stem, above a set of leaves.
For more flavor, crush your fresh chopped dried herbs between your fingers before adding them to a dish.
If herbs etc. are a shortage, or you have to chop a whole bundle when you only want a small amount, use what you require for your recipe then wash and place the remaining in water and freeze as ice blocks. Then when required all you have to do is thaw out required amount.
You may also find of interest...
- Compliment Your Cooking with Herbs and Spices
- Herbs: A LOT More Than Flavor! (Timeless Nutrition Tips)
- Fat Free Flavor Makers (Food Fitness)
- Home Grown Herbs (Blog Post)