Suppliers of fine food products in Australia inevitably stock an extensive range of food ingredients and products. From herbs to spices and from grains to lentils, they will be able to offer a wide selection of products. Since ancient times, people have regarded herbs and spices as among the best food ingredients. Herbs, in particular, have been useful for enhancing the flavour and taste of a wide range of dishes. Not surprisingly, they can be among the most prized possessions in your kitchens. When it comes to using herbs in dishes, some people prefer buying fresh herbs. Others prefer the convenience that dried herbs offer. Both varieties of herbs can enliven your dishes and make them distinctive. But, knowing the difference between the two and the occasions when using one over the other would provide better value can be invaluable.
Some chefs believe that fresh herbs remain superior to their dried counterparts. But, this will not always be the case. Herbs usually contain four flavour compounds within them i.e. phenols, ketones, hydrocarbons and aldehydes. Some of these compounds remain volatile or fragile in nature. Thus, when exposed to high temperatures for prolonged spans of time, these herbs will lose their flavour. Invariably, this will take place during the drying and cooking processes. In contrast, other herbs offer superior levels of stability. As a result, their flavour will remain unaffected even when exposed to higher temperatures.
Dried herbs can do wonders to the taste and aroma of a dish when you add them earlier in the cooking process. Doing so gives these herbs sufficient time to imbue the dish with their flavour uniformly. If you add them too late, the flavour will not spread evenly throughout the dish. It goes without saying that using dried herbs can be very convenient. Even in terms of their price, dry herbs can be relatively inexpensive. But, this doesn’t mean that they come out second best in terms of flavour as opposed to their fresher varieties. As long as you cook them for sufficient spans of time to soften them, the flavour of dry herbs will be as good as that imparted by fresh ones. Sage, marjoram, bay leaves, rosemary etc. rank among the most popular dry herbs sold in Australia.
Purchasing dry herbs from the market can be very convenient. But, the luxury of being able to select fresh herbs taken from your own garden can be quite delightful. Unfortunately, not all Australians have this luxury. It can be best to use fresh herbs for finishing dishes. Thus, you should add them at the end of the cooking process. In most cases, you will add these herbs during the last 20-odd minutes of the cooking process. The only issue with using fresh herbs in cooking can be their availability. Finding the herbs you need can be hard during out-of-season times. Similarly, the shelf life of these herbs will only be for a few days or so. These aspects make dried herbs such a convenience. Some of the most popular fresh herbs used in Australia include basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, tarragon etc.
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