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Dried Herbs

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.

Dried Herbs Buying Guide

If you want to make dried herbs, there are two ways to do it. If you have a garden, you can make your own by harvesting your herbs and drying them. If you don’t have a garden, you can buy herbs and then make home-made dried herbs. You can buy potted herbs and grow these so you don’t have to buy fresh leaves every time a need arises, or you can buy freshly-cut leaves if you are not inclined to grow plants.

It can be argued that it is more convenient to just buy dried herbs. These are sold in groceries, supermarkets, specialty stores, even in farmers markets, and online. There are a lot of brands to choose from. Ask family or friends which brand they recommend. While shopping, make sure to check the bottle, the label, or the pack for any signs of damage or any indication the dried herbs inside have been compromised. Bring this to the attention of the store attendant so that this is removed from the shelf.

Dried Herbs Production & Farming in Texas

Many herbs typically used in making dried herbs are found and grown in Texas. Among the herbs that are commonly found and grown in Texas are basil, chives, mint, parsley, rosemary, and sweet marjoram. While there is no singular approach in growing herbs applicable to all kinds of herbs, growing these herbs that can be made into dried herbs follow similar general guidelines like well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and signs and symptoms of pests and diseases.

Currently, there are many Texas-based companies involved in the commercial production of dried herbs. There are also many small, local businesses producing home-made dried herbs, supported by businesses that focus on using locally-sourced ingredients.

Pesticides:

Growers involved in commercial mass-production of herbs are often involved in the use of pesticides. This is where local, small, community organic farmers have an advantage since many of them practice organic, pesticide-free growing of herbs. If you are making dried herbs, it is ideal to inquire whether or not these were grown using pesticides.

Geography:

The practice of drying herbs is done all over the world. The most common dried herbs in a particular country or region are those that are commonly grown there and are largely used for culinary, medicinal, and other purposes. In terms of production, Egypt ranks among the top producers of dried herbs worldwide. Egypt produces dried basil, marjoram, parsley, dill, and mint, among others. When it comes to culinary dried herbs like thyme, bay leaves, and basil, Europe is considered one of the largest producers in the world.

Research shows that the worldwide dried herbs market size is projected to reach USD 2557.5 million by 2026 (from USD 2485.9 million in 2020), at a CAGR of 2.7% 

Packaging:

Dried herbs  are sold in plastic or glass bottles, or in a plastic refill or large quantity pack. Packaging of dried herbs include label that indicates important information like expiry or best before (if applicable), country of origin, name of manufacturer, nutritional information, instruction on how to use, ingredients, etc. 

Eating Dried Herbs

We eat dried herbs because we like how dried herbs affect the flavor of the food we eat. A bonus incentive is our food gets added nutritional value. There are two ways you can eat dried herbs. Typically, we eat dried herbs as an ingredient in the dish. Another way we eat dried herbs is when we use them as a table condiment. Sprinkling a fried sunny-side-up egg or steamed fish with dried basil is an example.

Storage:

Do not place dry herb bundles where it is exposed to direct sunlight to preserve the aroma and flavor of the herbs. Dried herbs stored in containers should be kept inside the spice cabinet or kitchen drawer or pantry. Dried herb bouquets can be left hanging somewhere they will not get wet and shaded from direct sunlight. 

Cooking: 

An important reminder when cooking using dried herbs like dried oregano or dried rosemary is never to cook it for too long because dried herbs can overpower other flavors as a result of being cooked longer than needed. The dish can also taste bitter as a result of overcooking dried herbs.

Nutritional Benefits:

Herbs offer a great variety of nutritional benefits. Unfortunately, the drying process results in lost nutrients. However, this does not mean that dried herbs are nutritionally worthless. Dried herbs can still be a source of vitamins and minerals.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: varies
  • Carbs: varies
  • Sugar: varies
  • Fiber: varies
  • Protein: varies
  • Fat: varies
  • Saturated Fat: varies

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