Dried herbs are an important aspect of how we cook, how we eat, how we practice our cultural beliefs, and to many, how to earn a living and make a profit.
Humans have long discovered the two ways to use herbs – fresh and dried. Some instances require fresh herbs, especially if this is the better choice over dried herbs. Similarly, there are instances wherein dried herbs are the ideal choice. Take for example the practice of smudging – this cultural practice cannot be done with fresh herbs. This is why humans have been drying herbs since ancient times.
Modern technology has allowed us to create new ways to dry herbs (e.g. through the use of microwave ovens and baking ovens, etc). Because of this and other factors like the longer shelf life of dried herbs versus fresh herbs, more and more people are trying to learn how to make their own dried herbs.
The dried herb is man’s way of making sure herbs do not go to waste after they were harvested. Drying herbs is a great and popular way of preserving herbs for future use. And because of the growing demand for dried herbs, this has become a commercial enterprise, and today, companies all around the world harvest herbs to make dried herbs. As industries that involve the use of dried herbs grew (i.e. catering and food processing, cosmetics and personal care, medicinal remedies, etc.), so did the dried herbs industry.
One thing that is good about having dried herbs at home is having an option, or an alternative, or a back-up. Sometimes, we want to cook a certain dish that requires a fresh herb, and it is not available in the supermarket. When this happens, you can use dried herbs.
Dried Herbs Trivia
- Your first instinct when you see dried leaves is to throw them out. For herbal bouquets, keep it there. One good quality of this collection of dried herbs is its ability to repel insects.
- Burn dried herbs like basil or rosemary and cleanse the room of bad energy or bad spirits.
- Fresh leaves are great but not in the case of bay leaf. Dried bay leaf is more flavorful when used in cooking compared to fresh bay leaf.
- Mistletoe is often associated with Christmas, but dried mistletoe is considered a medicinal herb too.
- Have you seen a bottle of dried allspice? Don’t be confused with the name – this is not a mixture of different spices. Allspice is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America. It is now cultivated in many warm parts of the world. It is also known as Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or pimento.