Kitchen Hints and Tips
Herbs and Spices
- The general ratio to substitute fresh herbs for dried is 3 to 1. That is,
use 3 times as much fresh herbs as dried herbs that recipes might call for.
- NEVER store spices above the stove. It's very hot and can be humid.
- Red spices will maintain flavor and retain color longer if they are stored
in the refrigerator.
- Store spices in a cool place, away from any direct source of heat. The heat
will destroy their flavor.
- Arrange spices in alphabetical order and eliminate the problem of hunting
through all of them to find the right one.
- When using fresh herbs instead of dried, use three times the recommended
- Before adding dried herbs, rub them between your palms or fingertips to
release their flavor.
- "Chop" fresh herbs by placing them in a glass measuring cup and
snipping with scissors.
- Fresh herbs will keep a week or more in the refrigerator if you store them
upright in a jar with water in the bottom; cover jar.
- If you are bunch-drying small herbs, such as thyme or oregano, you'll
find that their very short stems fall out of the string as they shrivel. Tie
the small herbs together in the MIDDLE of the bunch. They'll dry without
- Crush dried herbs gently with a mortar and pestle to enhance their flavor.
Slightly bruising fresh herbs will increase their effectiveness.
- Since many recipes call for both salt and pepper, keep a large shaker filled
with a mixture of both — 3/4 salt and 1/4 pepper is a good combination.
- To enjoy "fresh" basil during the winter, whirl 2 cups of fresh,
loosely-packed leaves with 1 1/2 cups water in a blender. Pour into ice-cube
trays and freeze. Add cubes as needed to hot soups, stews, and sauces.
- If none is available, add one or two tablespoons of B & B liqueur. The
alcohol burns off during cooking, and the combination of more than 20 spices
in this liqueur adds wonderful flavor.
- Use a tea ball to hold the herbs. It can be hung over the side of the pan
and just as easily be removed.
- Make one by putting the herbs in a coffee filter and securing it with a
string or twist tie from which the paper has been removed.
- To store fresh ginger, cut the root into small pieces and put into a small
jar. Add a little dry sherry, cover the jar and store it in the refrigerator.
- To store fresh ginger, slice it and wrap in aluminum foil. Freeze it for
up to two weeks.
- To prevent salt from clogging in the shaker, keep 5 to 10 grains of rice
inside the shaker.
- If you have over-salted a dish, try to save it by adding a teaspoon each
of vinegar and sugar to the dish and simmer for a short while. This may save
- Slices of raw potato will absorb extra salt. For a stew or soup, you can
try adding thick slices of potato. The potato will attract and hold some of
the excess salt and can be removed before serving the dish.