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Herbs Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know


Herbs are a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals. Herbs can be bought in many forms – either dried or fresh, and from many sources – from supermarkets, health food stores, farmers’ markets, and even online. But with so much choice out there, it can be tricky to know which type of herb and where to buy them. That’s why we have put together this Guide: it will explain everything you need to know about buying herbs, including the different types available, their various benefits and uses, tips on how to get the best quality herbs for your recipes, as well as giving advice on where is best to purchase them. Read on for all the information you need for a successful purchase!


What are the different types of herbs available?

There is a large variety of herbs to choose from, but some of the most popular include basil, parsley, marjoram, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary and mint. Each herb has its own unique flavor and aroma which can add depth to your recipes. Additionally, many herbs have health benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant activity. 


Are there any differences between dried and fresh herbs?

Yes – compared to their fresh counterparts, dried herbs have stronger flavor profiles due to the process of drying them out and concentrating their natural oils. However, fresh herbs contain more moisture and therefore need to be used soon after purchase. Additionally, when using dried herbs, it’s important to remember that they need to be rehydrated before use.


Do all herbs have the same flavor?

No – depending on the type of herb, each one has its own unique flavor profile which can range from sweet to pungent or even spicy. For example basil has a sweet aroma with notes of pepper and aniseed; whereas oregano is more pungent with earthy and woody overtones.


What are the benefits of buying herbs?

Buying herbs can have many benefits. Firstly, they are an easy way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals without loading them with salt or fat. Secondly, herbs are a great source of antioxidants which can help protect the body from free-radical damage and reduce inflammation. Finally, herbs are also known for their medicinal properties – some have been used as traditional remedies to treat various ailments such as headaches, indigestion and even depression.


Is it cheaper to buy herbs online?

Generally speaking, buying herbs online is often cheaper than buying them from a local store or farmers’ market due to lower overhead costs like rent or staffing fees. However, it’s important to check the reviews of online stores before purchasing to ensure the herbs are of good quality.


What tips can I use to get better quality herbs?

When selecting herbs, it’s important to make sure you are getting the best quality possible. For fresh herbs, look for ones that have vibrant colors and firm stems; for dried herbs, smell them – if they don’t have a strong aroma then chances are they won’t provide much flavor when cooking. Additionally, try to buy small amounts at a time so that you’re not left with unused herbs which will go off quickly in your kitchen cupboard or pantry.


Is there anything else I should consider when buying herbs?

It’s important to be aware of the source of your herbs – buy organic wherever possible as this means they have been grown without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. Additionally, you should also check that the labels of any products you purchase have informative information on them – this includes ingredients, expiration dates, nutritional facts, country of origin and manufacturer details.


Can I store my herbs for long periods of time?

Generally speaking, most herbs will keep well in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight for several weeks or even months. However, some are more delicate than others – basil, chives and parsley can only last a few days before wilting; whereas oregano, thyme and rosemary can stay good for up to a year if stored correctly. Therefore, it’s important to check the individual herb’s storage requirements before making a purchase.


What is the difference between fresh and dried herbs?

Fresh herbs are those that have been recently harvested and not yet processed; they typically have a stronger flavor and aroma than their dried counterparts but also tend to be more expensive due to shorter shelf lives. Dried herbs are those that have been dehydrated and then ground into flakes or powder form; they last longer than fresh herbs but provide less intense flavors so you need to use more of them when cooking.


Can I freeze my herbs?

Yes – freezing herbs is an effective way to preserve their flavor and aroma for longer periods of time. However, it’s important to note that some herbs will discolor or lose their texture after being frozen; so before freezing, check whether the herb you plan on using can be frozen without compromising its quality. Additionally, if possible, blanch the herb first in order to help maintain its color and texture once frozen.


How can I use herbs?

Herbs can be used in a variety of ways; they are often used as a garnish, added to salads and soups or used as a flavoring agent in cooked dishes like curries and stews. Additionally, herbs also have medicinal properties – for example, basil is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities; and chamomile is known to help with digestion.


Buying herbs can add flavor, nutrition and medicinal benefits to your meals – but it’s important to do so with care. The Guide above has provided you with all the necessary information for a successful purchase; from understanding the different types available, their various benefits and uses through to tips on how to get the best quality herbs. Armed with this knowledge, you can now confidently shop for herbs like an expert!

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