Fresh herbs are strong-smelling, flavorful plants that can be added to dishes to make them more flavorful. Herbs include basil, cilantro, garlic, dill, rosemary, oregano and thyme as well as others. Garlic is an herb but is a bulb shape. Fresh herbs are usually green, but some variations can make them different colors. They can be easily grown at home indoors or outdoors during the growing season.
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Fresh Herbs
Herbs contain vitamin C, which helps heal cuts and wounds and promotes a strong immune system. They also contain vitamin K, which helps heal our bodies quickly.
How to Select Fresh Herbs
Look for herbs that are not limp or drooping. The leaves of herbs should be bright in color and free of brown spots or yellowed leaves. Herbs should have a strong smell. Garlic should be chosen when it is firm.
How to Store Fresh Herbs
Store basil stems in water and cover with a plastic bag on the counter for up to ten days or in the refrigerator for up to five days. Store garlic on the counter. For cilantro, dill and parsley, wrap the cut stems in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Store for up to a week.
How to Prepare Fresh Herbs
- Herbs can be finely chopped and mixed together with oil and lemon juice to make a chimichuri sauce that can top cooked meat
- Herbs can be chopped and added to salads
- Add to mashed potatoes
- Add to a sandwich or use in a sandwich spread
- Try adding herbs to soups and stews
- Add to a vegetable side dish
- Add to an omelet or egg dish
- Incorporate into baked breads
- Cilantro and parsley can be added to salsa
- Meat and vegetables can be marinated with herbs
- Add to pasta salads or other pasta dishes
- Add to dips and dressings
Seasonal Availability of Fresh Herbs in Nebraska
Materials to Print
The Seasonal Produce Handouts page includes a variety of handouts, recipes, and recipe cards that are available as downloadable PDFs. You can use these resources in your educational programs.