Fresh herbs provide added zest and enhance the flavors of food without adding calories, salt or fat. Chef Marie recommends the following must-have fresh herbs in your kitchen for preparing flavorful Italian dishes:
- Italian flat-leaf parsley
Here are her tips for buying herbs and keeping them fresh:
- When choosing fresh herbs, pick those with a clean, fresh fragrance and a bright color without any sign of wilting or browning. The oils that give herbs their flavor can escape if the leaves, seeds or stems are injured. Take care in handling them and use just enough to be cooked, dried or frozen that day.
- Fresh herbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Rinse fresh herbs in cool water and place them on a paper towel. Gently roll herbs in the paper towel and moisten with a fine mist until lightly damp. Place wrapped herbs in an airtight container and refrigerate. Each time you remove some herbs for cooking, replace the remainder in a new, damp paper towel and refrigerate.
- Since fresh herbs are not always readily available, Chef Marie suggests freezing some when you can. First, rinse herbs and pat dry. Divide herbs into smaller portions and freeze in airtight bags. Another method is to place chopped, fresh herbs into ice cube trays and cover with an equal amount of water before freezing. Once cubes are frozen, place in sealed bags to maintain freshness.