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Fresh Herbs

variety of fresh herbs

Produce Spotlight on Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs add flavor and aroma to a variety of foods. Their taste is more subtle than dried herbs. Tender herbs such as basil and parsley are best used fresh. Some come in different colors and varieties. Basil, for example, can be green or purple, and varieties include Italian basil and Thai basil.


Shopping for Fresh Herbs

Choose herbs with plump leaves and fresh aroma. Avoid wilted or blemished leaves or moldy stems. Fresh herbs are available year-round.


Common Types

Basil – versatile and common herb; flavor varies by type. Italian basil is peppery, Thai basil has an anise flavor.

Parsley – bright green herb; flat-leaf has broad, serrated leaves and a peppery bite; curly types are blander.

Cilantro – leaves are similar to flat-leaf parsley; bright and citrusy flavor, although some people find it to taste soapy.

Mint – rough green leaves; varieties include peppermint and spearmint.

Oregano – flat, oval leaves; warm, spicy flavor.

Rosemary – strong, pine-like fragrance and flavor; grows on woody stems.

Thyme – small green, pointy leaves on woody stem; often used with other herbs such as basil and sage.


Storage and Preparation

  • For tender herbs, trim stems and place herbs in a jar with some cold water. Refrigerate or leave on counter.
  • Wrap hardy herbs in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.
  • When chopping fresh herbs, use scissors to avoid crushing delicate leaves.
  • To freeze (use frozen herbs within 12 months):

Hardy herbs: Wash and pat dry full stems, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze. When firm, place in a labeled freezer bag.     

Tender herbs, such as parsley: Wash herbs, remove from stems, and place (whole or chopped) in an ice-cube tray. Cover with water and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a labeled freezer bag.


Serving Ideas

  • To substitute fresh herbs for dried in a recipe, use more than called for and add at the end.
  • Use fresh mint in Middle Eastern dishes such as tabbouleh or in tea.
  • Add oregano to pizza and Italian dishes.


Fresh Herbs Math

Rule of thumb: 1 tablespoon fresh herbs =

1 teaspoon dried herbs

Exceptions: Basil, parsley, sage: 2 teaspoons fresh = 1 teaspoon dried


Using Locally Grown Produce

For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website To locate places to buy local produce, visit


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 bunch; Calories: 9.1; Carbohydrates: 1.1 g; Fiber: 0.6 g; Fat: 0.3 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Sodium: 1.6 mg