I’ve always prided myself on having a wide range of herbs and spices in my kitchen, but then I read that you should replace your spices every six months. If that’s true, I wish I could buy one tablespoon sized jars, because some of my spice jars are still half full after ten, twenty, even thirty years. Further research revealed that ground spices can actually last at least a few years and whole spices and herbs even longer. Also, crumbling them between your fingers brings out the flavor, if there’s any left. So with my aging jars of herbs and spices filling up my kitchen, I decided to brighten-up my cooking with fresh herbs.
Parsley, dill, cilantro, basil. They all come in cute little bunches or plastic packages. But, deja vu. Once you chop your tablespoon or so for your recipe, the rest quickly spoils. Alyssa and I did have great success placing a bunch of dill in a glass of water and keeping it in the refrigerator. Basil, however, just rots, no matter what you do. Too bad they don’t sell just a few springs of these herbs.
So, my next venture was to grow my own herbs so I could just pick them as I needed them. First I bought basil that had jagged, sharp edges — not very easy to eat when used in caprese. Then I learned that parsley has to be replanted frequently. Every cilantro and dill plant died quickly. But I haven’t given up. I just bought new plants and am keeping the dill inside the house to see if it survives on the window sill above the sink.
I do like chopping fresh herbs into salads, eggs and meat dishes. When buying fresh herbs, since you can’t buy just a few sprigs, the best plan is to gather a bunch of recipes that use the same herb and use it up before it wilts.