Dried spices

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Stock Pot

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New Hampshire, USA
Every recipe calls for fresh herbs, but they are expensive and don't keep well. So I am interested in ideas for dried herbs. For example, I have found that I can often substitute garlic powder for minced garlic. I have a jar of dried horseradish that I have no idea what to do with.

So, do you use dried spices and, if so, when and how?
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
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Sep 1, 2004
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Massachusetts
I use dry herbs and spices.

Using fresh herbs is great when you can but it's not always possible. You buy some basil, or chives, etc. for a recipe and have some left over. If you don't want to waste them, you could freeze the leftovers into ice cubes to preserve their freshness.

Spices, on the other hand, are almost always dried. They can be kept 'fresh' by keeping them whole then grinding them as needed or by toasting them in a skillet to bring out their flavor and aroma.
 

caseydog

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Jan 19, 2017
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Dallas
Like Andy, I prefer fresh herbs in most cases, and I grow them in my backyard. Some grow all year down here, while a few, namely basil, do not. I've found that some herbs dry well, and others do not. Basil (one that doesn't grow year round), isn't as good dried, IMO.

BTW, herb gardens are pretty easy to grow, even with limited space.

All of my spices are dried. Some of my hot chilis are frozen from fresh. I have a huge crop of cayenne peppers this year, so I am going to freeze some, and dry the rest at the end of the growing season. I'm going to try grinding the dried cayenne peppers right as I need it.

I buy diced California garlic in jars. It isn't cheap, but it is good. Often it is better than the fresh garlic available in the local stores. It keeps in the fridge for a pretty long time.

CD
 

Whiskadoodle

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Twin Cities Mn
Trying to learn to love dried rosemary. It’s not working. I prefer fresh. It’s probably the only herb I buy fresh out of season. Otherwise I dry, or freeze herbs I grow or get at the farmer’s market. (Ok, fresh parsley and cilantro too, but they’re not expensive. )

Dried works just fine in most dishes- stews, soups, casseroles, rubs on meats, in sauces and gravies, salad dressings. What else is there, if I forgot a food category, dried probably can be slipped in those too. Leave time for the herbs to blend in, like in salad dressings or meld with the sauce you are cooking.

I actually prefer dried oregano in most dishes. I can’t really tell the difference between fresh or dried thyme in a dish. Dried basil I think loses its flavor fast. My basil work around is to lob off a chunk of frozen homemade pesto which I store rolled up in a zippy baggie much like a bag of buena hierba, and into the stew pot it goes. The little bit of parm and ground nuts goes as an unnoticed bonus in the sauce.

If you are near a farmer’s market, this is the time of year growers pull hot pepper plants up by the roots and sell as a bunch. Bring home and tie the plant up to dry. You’ll have a year or more worth of chili peppers. I prefer serrano or thai chili peppers.

One Teaspoon of dried herb = one Tablespoon fresh, in most cases.
 

caseydog

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Trying to learn to love dried rosemary. It’s not working. I prefer fresh. It’s probably the only herb I buy fresh out of season. Otherwise I dry, or freeze herbs I grow or get at the farmer’s market. (Ok, fresh parsley and cilantro too, but they’re not expensive. )

Dried works just fine in most dishes- stews, soups, casseroles, rubs on meats, in sauces and gravies, salad dressings. What else is there, if I forgot a food category, dried probably can be slipped in those too. Leave time for the herbs to blend in, like in salad dressings or meld with the sauce you are cooking.

I actually prefer dried oregano in most dishes. I can’t really tell the difference between fresh or dried thyme in a dish. Dried basil I think loses its flavor fast. My basil work around is to lob off a chunk of frozen homemade pesto which I store rolled up in a zippy baggie much like a bag of buena hierba, and into the stew pot it goes. The little bit of parm and ground nuts goes as an unnoticed bonus in the sauce.

If you are near a farmer’s market, this is the time of year growers pull hot pepper plants up by the roots and sell as a bunch. Bring home and tie the plant up to dry. You’ll have a year or more worth of chili peppers. I prefer serrano or thai chili peppers.

One Teaspoon of dried herb = one Tablespoon fresh, in most cases.

Have you tried growing your own Rosemary? It is really tough. Mine survives year around for years, until it gets too woody and I pull it and replace it. I've had it survive everything from 105-dgree heat, to being covered with snow and ice.

My oregano is almost as tough. It survives summer heat, and has been buried under snow.

Of course, it is not Minnesota. I've been to Minneapolis in January once. I never, ever want to do that again. :LOL:

I agree, btw -- basil loses it's flavor when dried. Oregano dries much better.

CD
 

Steve Kroll

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Mar 29, 2011
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Have you tried growing your own Rosemary? It is really tough. Mine survives year around for years, until it gets too woody and I pull it and replace it. I've had it survive everything from 105-dgree heat, to being covered with snow and ice.

My oregano is almost as tough. It survives summer heat, and has been buried under snow.

Of course, it is not Minnesota. I've been to Minneapolis in January once. I never, ever want to do that again. :LOL:
It's really not that bad once you get used to it. I used to live in Vegas, where 110 degree highs were not out of the norm. When I first moved there, I thought I would never get used to that, but before long I was out biking and jogging even on hot days. ;)

Rosemary won't survive most winters outdoors here. But I know folks who grow it in pots outdoors and bring it inside during the winter months.

Whenever I have a choice, I like fresh herbs. There are a few that taste better dried, though, in my opinion. Oregano and marjoram are two I can think of off the top of my head.
 

GotGarlic

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Southeastern Virginia
I'm fortunate to live in a temperate climate where I can grow a lot of herbs, so I have fresh ones for at least three quarters of the year.

Herbs with woody stems dry well; their flavors are concentrated with the evaporation of the water. These include bay leaves, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Soft herbs lose their flavors rapidly, so they are better preserved in water, like Andy mentioned, or in a sauce or compound butter. These include basil, cilantro, dill and parsley.

A friend gave us a cutting from her rosemary bush as a house-warming gift in 1992. It lasted till we had an unusual cold snap about five years ago - the temperature was in the teens for about a week. That killed my rosemary. I thought it also killed my bay tree - all the leaves fell off and it didn't seem to have any new growth that spring. So I had DH cut it down. Then sprouts started growing up from the root area and now it's sort of a shrub with a big stump at the bottom [emoji38]

I received a sample jar of dried minced garlic from Penzeys and it's a nice convenience to have on hand to use in soups or sauces.
 
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Mad Cook

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North West England
Every recipe calls for fresh herbs, but they are expensive and don't keep well. So I am interested in ideas for dried herbs. For example, I have found that I can often substitute garlic powder for minced garlic. I have a jar of dried horseradish that I have no idea what to do with.

So, do you use dried spices and, if so, when and how?
I use dried herbs most of the time. The only ones that don't work very well are dried parsley and dried basil. Mint dries well but tends to have a different taste to fresh mint. (Dried mint is used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking.)

Why not grow your own herbs? I have some in the garden and some in pots on the kitchen window sill. Never plant mint directly into the soil or it will take over the neighbourhood, never mind your garden. I have mine in a large plant pot but Mother sank a bucket into the ground and planted her mint in that. If you live in a flat/apartment you can still grow a few in window boxes or if you have outside stairs you can have pots on the steps. In the original Jamie Oliver series on television he had masses of herbs in pots on the stairs outside his flat.

The spices I have in my spice draw are mainly the ones used for baking and curries and some for middle eastern cooking - eg: cardamon, cinnamon, turmeric, fennel seeds, coriander seed, ginger, etc. Can't grow any of those in my neck of the woods.

Don't by dried herbs or ground/powdered spices in large amounts. It may be tempting when you see the saving in price but it's false economy as you'll end up throwing them away when the've lost their savour. If I have any left in the jars I usually chuck them away after about 5-6 months.
 

skilletlicker

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Memphis, TN
Fresh Turmeric

Slow day at the Kroger across from the hardware store. This one has a produce manager who enjoys his work. After talking a few minutes he showed me the fresh turmeric root that just came in. I don't remember seeing it before. Looks like ginger, or caterpillar. Came in 1 pint plastic tubs for $4.99. I'm guessing maybe 6 or 8 ounces.

Read How To Use Fresh Turmeric Root Instead of Dried when I got home. Thinking of going back to pick some up. You guys have experience with it?
 

Caslon

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Ring of fire. So. Calif.
Don't by dried herbs or ground/powdered spices in large amounts. It may be tempting when you see the saving in price but it's false economy as you'll end up throwing them away when the've lost their savour. If I have any left in the jars I usually chuck them away after about 5-6 months.

I once could only get "Pappy's Seasoning" in a large quantity instead of just a shaker amount. I vacuum bagged a sizeable amount of it and put it in the freezer.

It kept pretty damn well. It didn't change color like this type spice usually does over time once opened on the shelf (from vibrant red to reddish brown looking over time).
 
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kenmiller

Senior Cook
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May 3, 2019
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121
Location
edinburgh
Every recipe calls for fresh herbs, but they are expensive and don't keep well. So I am interested in ideas for dried herbs. For example, I have found that I can often substitute garlic powder for minced garlic. I have a jar of dried horseradish that I have no idea what to do with.

So, do you use dried spices and, if so, when and how?

You can make frozen garlic and ginger cubes by making the paste of it. And roast cumin for few seconds and make a dry powder of it.
 

skilletlicker

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Aug 28, 2005
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Since last replying to this thread I started a small indoor aquaponic system producing herbs year round. Been up and running 16 months now. So far basil, thyme, parsley, sage, mint, cilantro, dandelion, and rosemary.
 

larry_stewart

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Long Island, New York
Since last replying to this thread I started a small indoor aquaponic system producing herbs year round. Been up and running 16 months now. So far basil, thyme, parsley, sage, mint, cilantro, dandelion, and rosemary.

I do the same for year round fresh herbs ( primarily Basil , parsley and sage).
I also use the aquaponics system to root rosemary cuttings ( works really well, 100% success rate).

During the growing season, I slow down the aquaponics, but there's always something growing in there.
 

pepperhead212

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Woodbury, NJ
Many years ago I set up a deepwater hydroponics system, to grow herbs in during the off season. Basil and Thai basil were the ones I wanted to have at all times, but I also tried many others, through the years. Some, unfortunately, attracted certain bugs - aphids and spider mites - so I stopped growing them indoors. Spearmint was one that attracted aphids, yet peppermint has no problem with them! This year I tried dill for the first time, and it went nuts! I kept cutting it back, and it kept growing back, like many of the others. Red epazote is one that I grow from a single cutting, and it is unbelievable how overgrown it becomes - same with peppermint. Here is a photo from a time when I should have trimmed everything a week earlier!
Epazote, needs trimming again. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

I also kept some rosemary, thyme, and Syrian oregano on the back porch, and kaffir limes, curry tree, and a bay laurel in my dining room, in front of a S window - all back outside again.

I made a cloner to root cuttings, and it works like an aeroponics system, with a pump, and a sprayer inside. Incredible how fast things root in there! Usually, this is how I get my basil for planting outside - just take cuttings from the hydroponics system, and root them. But I got a new variety this season - Everleaf - that supposedly bolts slower than any other variety, so I started everything from seed, to compare them. It is the smallest variety, so far, but time will tell...maybe it will be a good variety for the indoors growing! Seratta has been my favorite for years, but I keep trying new ones.

There are a few herbs that dry well (oregano and thyme are a couple that I use) but there really is nothing like fresh herbs!
 

skilletlicker

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Memphis, TN
Here's a slightly outdated pic of my little indoor herb bed.
PcoLmBL.jpg

And Sara and Maybelle get upset if their picture isn't included.
5TC9hHN.jpg
 
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