There's nothing like the luxury of knowing that you have a supply of fresh herbs growing just steps away from the kitchen Because nothing beats the flavor of just-picked herbs, the best time to harvest herbs is when you need them! However, if it's more convenient to plan ahead, early in the day is the best time for harvesting. Head out to the garden with sharp scissors or clippers just after the morning dew has evaporated.
Unless it's time to harvest the whole plant, think of harvesting as pruning the plant for continued growth, Clip off up to one-fourth of the plant by pruning the tips or cutting off whole stalks that detract from the plant's appearance.
If you won't be using the herbs right away, shake off any surface dirt and submerge the stalks upright in a glass of water. To store for longer than a day, place the glass in a plastic bag, tie it loosely with a twist-tie, and refrigerate. Alternately, you can wrap the cuttings in a damp paper towel and enclose the bundle in a plastic bag. Either way, most herbs will stay fresh for up to three days when refrigerated.
To prepare fresh herbs for cooking, snip the leaves from the stalk with scissors, allowing the leaves to fall onto a cutting board. Then mince the leaves with a sharp knife. You can also roll a small handful of the herb into a ball and use sharp scissors to cut the herbs into fine pieces. You can use a food processor to chop large amounts of herbs, but if you try this method, take care not to over-process the herbs or you'll end up with green mush,
You can use fresh herbs in place of dried herbs in any recipe. Simply increase the amount of dried herb that's called for with two- to three-fold that amount of fresh herb. This takes into consideration the loss of water in dried herbs: As herbs dty, their flavor becomes concentrated. In most recipes, it's best to add cither fresh or dried herbs in the last 15 minutes of cooking to retain the most delicate llavor.
Was this article helpful?
Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?