What do you do if a recipe calls for a fresh herb but you only have dried? No worries–there is a formula to follow when converting fresh to dried herbs and vice versa.
The rule of thumb for most herbs is 1 teaspoon of the dried herb = 1 tablespoon of the fresh. In other words, you need to use three times the amount of fresh than dried (and 1/3 the amount of dried than fresh). This is because dried herbs are more potent and concentrated in flavor than fresh herbs.
Tips When You Swap
It is important to keep a few things in mind when swapping fresh for dried or vice versa. First, dried herbs don’t taste quite the same as fresh herbs do–their taste is slightly bitter whereas the fresh herb tastes, well, fresh. There are also some herbs that just aren’t very good when dried, such as parsley; during the drying process, it loses most of its flavor and basically everything that is good about fresh parsley. Considering this herb is available year-round, though, you shouldn’t have a problem finding it in the market. Other herbs to avoid buying dry are cilantro, chives, and chervil, as they are nothing like their fresh version.
Cooking with Dried vs. Fresh Herbs
Dried herbs and fresh herbs need to be added to recipes at different stages.
It is important to add dried herbs during the cooking process to allow their flavors to infuse into the whole dish, while it is best to wait until the end of the recipe to include the fresh herbs so they maintain their brightness and vibrant green color. Sometimes, dishes benefit most from a sprinkling of fresh herb right before serving.
Dried herbs will lose their potency quickly if not stored properly. Keep in airtight jars or containers in a drawer or cabinet. You can store fresh herbs similarly to how you store flowers; in a glass or jar with a few inches of cold water, covered with a plastic bag if you choose, and placed in the refrigerator.