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How to Get the Most Value Out of Fresh Herbs

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Linsay ThomasGuest Blogger
August 19, 2016 · 2.1k Views

On the surface, herbs may appear quite simple – after all, they look like tiny leaves and pieces of grass. But don’t underestimate their power. Herbs can add beauty and flavor to a variety of meals. They can spice up meats, sauces and soups without resorting to unhealthy flavoring options such as butter, cheese and salt.

You may only use the leaves of your fresh herbs and throw away the rest. After all, you can’t add the stems to your recipe, right? Wrong! The stems make a great addition to a variety of recipes. The next time you bring out your herbs, don’t be so quick to throw away the stems. Save them up and add them to your next meal. 

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 Check out some easy ways to incorporate herbs into your cooking.

  1. Add stems to stocks and broths. Stems add a nice touch of flavor to stocks and broths. You’ll throw them out at the end anyway. Rosemary, thyme, and parsley stems work best.

    Source: Gimme Some Oven
  2. Add cilantro stems to guacamole. Just chop them up and add them just as you would the leaves. There’s no reason to discard them.

    Source: Simply Scratch
  3. Put them in a quiche. Parsley, dill, and tarragon stems work great in quiche. Just chop them up and throw them in before baking.

    Source: I Quit Sugar
  4. Add stems to salads. The softer stems make a great addition to salads. Just don’t try this with the woodier stems, such as thyme or rosemary.

    Source: Vitamin Sunshine
  5. Use stems in pickling. The stems add a ton of flavoring when use in canning. Dill stems work the best, but parsley and cilantro work well also.

    Source: Worth Cooking


 Here are some ways to keep herbs fresh longer so you don’t end up trashing them a few days after buying them.

  1. Grow your own. If you use herbs on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to grow your own. You’ll save money and you’ll have herbs whenever you need them. You can simply pick them when you’re ready to use them so you’ll no longer have any waste.

    Source: Beevoz
  2. Store them the right way. Once you bring the herbs home from the store, use cool water to rinse them off. Pat them dry and place them in a medium-sized jar filled with a couple inches of water.

    Source: Simply Recipes
  3. Freeze them if you won’t use them within the next few days. If you used the herbs, but have some extras that you won’t use anytime soon, don’t just toss them. You can freeze them for future use, but you may lose some flavor and nutritional value in the process. To do this, simply chop up the herbs and place them in ice cube trays. You can go a step further and freeze them in olive oil so you can easily toss them onto roast chicken or in a sauté for a flavorful meal without a lot of prep.

    Source: Diethood
  4. Prepare the herb properly. Each herb has a different look and shape, which means it needs to be picked or chopped in a certain way. Read up on the herb you chose and see if it requires any special preparation in order to maximize the flavor. If you’re not using it the right way, you could end up with a lot of waste – a big no-no!

    Source: Martha Stewart
  5. Know before you buy. If you’re not familiar with herbs, you may think they all basically taste the same. Well, they don’t. Each one has its own distinct flavor, so if you need an herb for a specific recipe, make sure you get the right one or your dish may come out all wrong. Some herbs are oniony, citrusy, sweet, minty, peppery, spicy, grassy or lemony. One herb in particular – tarragon – even tastes like licorice. There are so many different flavors, so you obviously want to do some research first and choose the right one.


    Source: saga.co.uk


Fresh herbs can be pricey. Use as much of them as you can so you don’t feel like you’re throwing away money. By following the tips above, you can learn how to incorporate the stems into some of your recipes to add a delicious, flavorful kick to any meal. You can also use this information to keep the herbs you have fresh for a long time, so you won’t feel guilty about splurging once in a while.


linsaythomas profile picture
Linsay Thomas is a seasoned writer and editor who has written thousands of articles about topics such as saving money, healthcare, law, pets and education. She hails from California, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she enjoys sports, breeding chocolate Labs and visiting the beach.

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