Fresh Herbs: Cooking & Storage Tips

Cooking Tips

  • When using fresh herbs instead of dried, use three times the amount the recipe calls for.
  • Always rinse herbs, pat dry with paper towel and strip leaves from the stem before using. Use the stems in stocks and soups for additional flavoring.
  • Always add fresh herbs in the last few minutes of cooking to retain their best flavor (except for fresh bay leaves and thyme, which don’t lose their flavor during long cooking).
  • Chopping, mincing, or crushing fresh herbs releases their full flavor.
  • Store fresh cut herbs in a container in your crisper section of the refrigerator. Never store fresh basil below 50 degrees. When you store basil in your refrigerator, put the original container in which the basil came inside one or two larger plastic containers to insulate it from the cold. Basil can also be stored at room temperature if you place the stems in a glass of water and mist the leaves.

Storage Ideas

  • If you don’t plan to use your fresh cut herbs all at once, you can blanch the leaves in boiling water for three to five seconds and refrigerate or freeze. The herbs will retain their nice color.
  • Puree herbs in a blender or food processor with your favorite oil and refrigerate or freeze.
  • Puree herbs with a small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays. Store ice cubes in a plastic bag and use to season soups, sauces and beverages.
  • Crush herbs and add to 12 ounces of white wine vinegar with a whole peeled clove of garlic. Let steep for a few days to two weeks. Strain and use vinegar in salads, as a marinade, or add to cooking water when steaming vegetables.

Recipes
Fresh herbs brighten a variety of dishes. Here are a few recipes to get you thinking about which plants to bring home.

Basil: Cheesy Pepperoni Butter Toast

Mint: Spring Lamb Chops with Minted Fruit Salsa

Chives: Chickpea and Spinach Tapas

Basil: Tofu Pesto Spread

Dill: Asparagus Smoked Salmon Strata

Stop in this Friday (March 28) through Monday (April 4) and pick up potted and fresh herbs for some fun in the kitchen.

Fresh Herbs: Cooking & Storage Tips

Cooking Tips

  • When using fresh herbs instead of dried, use three times the amount the recipe calls for.
  • Always rinse herbs, pat dry with paper towel and strip leaves from the stem before using. Use the stems in stocks and soups for additional flavoring.
  • Always add fresh herbs in the last few minutes of cooking to retain their best flavor (except for fresh bay leaves and thyme, which don’t lose their flavor during long cooking).
  • Chopping, mincing, or crushing fresh herbs releases their full flavor.
  • Store fresh cut herbs in a container in your crisper section of the refrigerator. Never store fresh basil below 50 degrees. When you store basil in your refrigerator, put the original container in which the basil came inside one or two larger plastic containers to insulate it from the cold. Basil can also be stored at room temperature if you place the stems in a glass of water and mist the leaves.

 
Storage Ideas

  • If you don’t plan to use your fresh cut herbs all at once, you can blanch the leaves in boiling water for three to five seconds and refrigerate or freeze. The herbs will retain their nice color.
  • Puree herbs in a blender or food processor with your favorite oil and refrigerate or freeze.
  • Puree herbs with a small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays. Store ice cubes in a plastic bag and use to season soups, sauces and beverages.
  • Crush herbs and add to 12 ounces of white wine vinegar with a whole peeled clove of garlic. Let steep for a few days to two weeks. Strain and use vinegar in salads, as a marinade, or add to cooking water when steaming vegetables.

 
Recipes
Fresh herbs brighten a variety of dishes. Here are a few recipes to get you thinking about which plants to bring home. 

Basil: Cheesy Pepperoni Butter Toast

 Mint: Spring Lamb Chops with Minted Fruit Salsa
 
Chives: Chickpea and Spinach Tapas
 
Basil: Tofu Pesto Spread
 
Dill: Asparagus Smoked Salmon Strata

Stop in this Friday (March 28) through Monday (April 4) and pick up potted and fresh herbs for some fun in the kitchen.

Herb Fest Is This Weekend: April 1-April 4

Basil
Highly fragrant and slightly sweet. Pairs well with tomatoes or stone fruits and is main ingredient in pesto. (That's a Generation Farms basil field in the photo!) 
 
Cilantro                 
Wide, lacy leaves and a cool, clean flavor that cuts spicy foods. Sometimes called fresh coriander because coriander seeds come from the cilantro plant, but have a very different flavor.  
 
Dill
Feathery leaves and a tangy flavor that pairs well with fish and vegetables. Try with basil and cilantro.
 
Chives
Mild onion flavor that tops off most anything well. Add to Greek yogurt or sour cream (or a combination of the two) with salt, pepper and garlic for a veggie dip or potato topper.  
 
Mint
Fresh, sweet flavor is perfect for salads, drinks and desserts.
 
Marjoram
Aromatic with a delicate, sweet, pine and citrus flavor. Often used in Greek, French and Italian cooking.
 
Lemon Verbena
Strong, crisp, lemon-mint aroma with a more bitter, green taste. Adds interesting hint of citrus to fish, cocktails, pesto sauce.
 
Oregano
Aromatic Mediterranean herb with big, bold flavor that intensifies as it dries. Classic pizza sauce ingredient, often used in Mexican and Greek cooking, as well as Italian.
 
Parsley
Mildly bitter taste brightens, balances and rounds out flavors.
 
Tarragon
Spicy, minty, licorice flavor used with meat, fish, soup, and tomato and egg dishes.
 
This weekend we’ll be putting our herbs front and center. So, make room on your windowsill for a few herb plants and clear space in the fridge for fresh bunches for your weekend recipes!

Herb Fest Is This Weekend: April 1-April 4

Basil
Highly fragrant and slightly sweet. Pairs well with tomatoes or stone fruits and is main ingredient in pesto. (That's a Generation Farms basil field in the photo!) 
 
Cilantro                 
Wide, lacy leaves and a cool, clean flavor that cuts spicy foods. Sometimes called fresh coriander because coriander seeds come from the cilantro plant, but have a very different flavor.  
 
Dill
Feathery leaves and a tangy flavor that pairs well with fish and vegetables. Try with basil and cilantro.
 
Chives
Mild onion flavor that tops off most anything well. Add to Greek yogurt or sour cream (or a combination of the two) with salt, pepper and garlic for a veggie dip or potato topper.  
 
Mint
Fresh, sweet flavor is perfect for salads, drinks and desserts.
 
Marjoram
Aromatic with a delicate, sweet, pine and citrus flavor. Often used in Greek, French and Italian cooking.
 
Lemon Verbena
Strong, crisp, lemon-mint aroma with a more bitter, green taste. Adds interesting hint of citrus to fish, cocktails, pesto sauce.
 
Oregano
Aromatic Mediterranean herb with big, bold flavor that intensifies as it dries. Classic pizza sauce ingredient, often used in Mexican and Greek cooking, as well as Italian.
 
Parsley
Mildly bitter taste brightens, balances and rounds out flavors.
 
Tarragon
Spicy, minty, licorice flavor used with meat, fish, soup, and tomato and egg dishes.
 
This weekend we’ll be putting our herbs front and center. So, make room on your windowsill for a few herb plants and clear space in the fridge for fresh bunches for your weekend recipes!

Put Your Fish in a Spacesuit Tonight

My first question is have you tried frying cod in a crispy batter seasoned with garlic and paprika? Pair it up with fat, homemade potato wedges sprinkled with sea salt, black pepper and seasoned salt, and you have a comfort meal that’s hard to beat.
 
If you like the idea of a tasty whitefish, but would rather not fry it, how about one of these cod recipes, like Classic Baked Lemon Cod Fillets?

Feeling more like salmon? Salmon in a Spacesuit uses spring asparagus and dill — and is really fun to say. Baked Salmon with Herb Butter is simple to make, and the herbed butter could also be used to make buttered lemon-parsley pasta as a sidedish. (And, of course, it would be perfect with crusty bread.) 
 
Pineapple Jalapeno Relish would certainly add a flavor kick to your fish if you feel like you’re in a rut. And Sautéed Shrimp with Spicy Grapefruit is an excuse to pick up a few more Texas grapefruits. (As if we needed an excuse.) 

And while you're at the store picking up your seafood, grab any last minute items needed for your Easter meal, because we're closed on Sunday! 

Foodie Dyes & Other Fun Egg Decorating Ideas

Foodie Egg Dyes
The folks at Rodale’s Organic Life provided this list of food items that make terrific egg dyes:
Yellow onion skins: yellow to dark orange
Red onion skins: pale purple to red
Red beets: pink to red
Red cabbage: blue
Spinach: green
Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries: pink to blue-purple
Yellow or green apple peels: yellow-green
Chili powder: orange
Turmeric or cumin: bright yellow
 
Instructions: Fill a pot with 2 cups of water. Add 2 cups of chopped or mashed fruits and veggies, or 2 tablespoons of spice, and bring to a boil. (Use slightly less water if you're working with watery produce, such as spinach.) Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out the fruit and veggie pieces using a fine mesh sieve. Stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and let it cool to warm or room temp. Then your dye is ready to use! Submerge eggs in the dye and roll them around to ensure even coloring. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the more vibrant the colors will become.
 
So now you have pretty colored eggs, which you can certainly enjoy just like that… or you can take them up a notch (or 10) with these fun ideas:
 
Metallic Shine
Draw designs or words on your colored eggs with metallic paint pens.
 
Go Natural
Head out on a nature hike with the kids, and fill a basket with tiny treasures such as moss, leaves and grasses, flowers, petals, clover, twigs, pebbles and bark. Use craft glue or a glue gun to attach your finds however you wish. Line a dish with pretty fabric, craft paper or Easter grass and arrange your nature eggs for an interesting centerpiece or mantle decoration.
 
Raid the Craft Bins
You probably have shoeboxes of egg decorations and don’t even realize it.
Step 1: Break out the Sharpies, stickers, buttons, googley eyes, those little colored puffy balls, sequins, paint, feathers, yarn, colorful/printed tape, foil, twine, a hole puncher and construction paper, silk flowers, tissue paper, and puffy paint. Of course there’s also glitter if you enjoy vacuuming. And enjoy having people stop mid-sentence and say, “Hold on; you have glitter on your face riiiiiiiight *there*.”
 
Step 2: Go bananas.
Draw faces on the eggs and use yarn for hair, feathers for wings, puff balls for hats. Wrap yarn around the middle, secure the ends with glue, attach googley eye to the yarn and make a puffy paint mouth. Cover with stickers and small pieces of printed tape. Cut your kids’ initials out of foil and glue on surrounded by colorful hole-punch confetti. You get the idea: There’s no right or wrong here. Just fun!
 
Decoupage
If you don’t mind a little prep work, cut out small pictures from magazines or prints from fabric for kids to decoupage onto the eggs. Colored tissue paper works great for this, as well, and makes a nice alternative to dyeing altogether.
 
We’d love to see how your foodie dyes turn out! And remember, come get your fruits and veggies today because we’re closed on Easter. 

Foodie Dyes & Other Fun Egg Decorating Ideas

Foodie Egg Dyes
The folks at Rodale’s Organic Life provided this list of food items that make terrific egg dyes:
Yellow onion skins: yellow to dark orange
Red onion skins: pale purple to red
Red beets: pink to red
Red cabbage: blue
Spinach: green
Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries: pink to blue-purple
Yellow or green apple peels: yellow-green
Chili powder: orange
Turmeric or cumin: bright yellow
 
Instructions: Fill a pot with 2 cups of water. Add 2 cups of chopped or mashed fruits and veggies, or 2 tablespoons of spice, and bring to a boil. (Use slightly less water if you're working with watery produce, such as spinach.) Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out the fruit and veggie pieces using a fine mesh sieve. Stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and let it cool to warm or room temp. Then your dye is ready to use! Submerge eggs in the dye and roll them around to ensure even coloring. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the more vibrant the colors will become.
 
So now you have pretty colored eggs, which you can certainly enjoy just like that… or you can take them up a notch (or 10) with these fun ideas:
 
Metallic Shine
Draw designs or words on your colored eggs with metallic paint pens.
 
Go Natural
Head out on a nature hike with the kids, and fill a basket with tiny treasures such as moss, leaves and grasses, flowers, petals, clover, twigs, pebbles and bark. Use craft glue or a glue gun to attach your finds however you wish. Line a dish with pretty fabric, craft paper or Easter grass and arrange your nature eggs for an interesting centerpiece or mantle decoration.
 
Raid the Craft Bins
You probably have shoeboxes of egg decorations and don’t even realize it.
Step 1: Break out the Sharpies, stickers, buttons, googley eyes, those little colored puffy balls, sequins, paint, feathers, yarn, colorful/printed tape, foil, twine, a hole puncher and construction paper, silk flowers, tissue paper, and puffy paint. Of course there’s also glitter if you enjoy vacuuming. And enjoy having people stop mid-sentence and say, “Hold on; you have glitter on your face riiiiiiiight *there*.”
 
Step 2: Go bananas.
Draw faces on the eggs and use yarn for hair, feathers for wings, puff balls for hats. Wrap yarn around the middle, secure the ends with glue, attach googley eye to the yarn and make a puffy paint mouth. Cover with stickers and small pieces of printed tape. Cut your kids’ initials out of foil and glue on surrounded by colorful hole-punch confetti. You get the idea: There’s no right or wrong here. Just fun!
 
Decoupage
If you don’t mind a little prep work, cut out small pictures from magazines or prints from fabric for kids to decoupage onto the eggs. Colored tissue paper works great for this, as well, and makes a nice alternative to dyeing altogether.
 
We’d love to see how your foodie dyes turn out! And remember, come get your fruits and veggies today because we’re closed on Easter. 

Foodie Dyes & Other Fun Egg Decorating Ideas

Foodie Egg Dyes
The folks at Rodale’s Organic Life provided this list of food items that make terrific egg dyes:
Yellow onion skins: yellow to dark orange
Red onion skins: pale purple to red
Red beets: pink to red
Red cabbage: blue
Spinach: green
Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries: pink to blue-purple
Yellow or green apple peels: yellow-green
Chili powder: orange
Turmeric or cumin: bright yellow
 
Instructions: Fill a pot with 2 cups of water. Add 2 cups of chopped or mashed fruits and veggies, or 2 tablespoons of spice, and bring to a boil. (Use slightly less water if you're working with watery produce, such as spinach.) Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out the fruit and veggie pieces using a fine mesh sieve. Stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and let it cool to warm or room temp. Then your dye is ready to use! Submerge eggs in the dye and roll them around to ensure even coloring. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the more vibrant the colors will become.
 
So now you have pretty colored eggs, which you can certainly enjoy just like that… or you can take them up a notch (or 10) with these fun ideas:
 
Metallic Shine
Draw designs or words on your colored eggs with metallic paint pens.
 
Go Natural
Head out on a nature hike with the kids, and fill a basket with tiny treasures such as moss, leaves and grasses, flowers, petals, clover, twigs, pebbles and bark. Use craft glue or a glue gun to attach your finds however you wish. Line a dish with pretty fabric, craft paper or Easter grass and arrange your nature eggs for an interesting centerpiece or mantle decoration.
 
Raid the Craft Bins
You probably have shoeboxes of egg decorations and don’t even realize it.
Step 1: Break out the Sharpies, stickers, buttons, googley eyes, those little colored puffy balls, sequins, paint, feathers, yarn, colorful/printed tape, foil, twine, a hole puncher and construction paper, silk flowers, tissue paper, and puffy paint. Of course there’s also glitter if you enjoy vacuuming. And enjoy having people stop mid-sentence and say, “Hold on; you have glitter on your face riiiiiiiight *there*.”
 
Step 2: Go bananas.
Draw faces on the eggs and use yarn for hair, feathers for wings, puff balls for hats. Wrap yarn around the middle, secure the ends with glue, attach googley eye to the yarn and make a puffy paint mouth. Cover with stickers and small pieces of printed tape. Cut your kids’ initials out of foil and glue on surrounded by colorful hole-punch confetti. You get the idea: There’s no right or wrong here. Just fun!
 
Decoupage
If you don’t mind a little prep work, cut out small pictures from magazines or prints from fabric for kids to decoupage onto the eggs. Colored tissue paper works great for this, as well, and makes a nice alternative to dyeing altogether.
 
We’d love to see how your foodie dyes turn out! And remember, come get your fruits and veggies today because we’re closed on Easter. 

Celebrate Easter with Pretty Blooms

While arrangments vary by store, you're sure to find something gorgeous at any Central Market location. And if you're still looking for the perfect arrangement, as our Floral Partners to help you customize your favorite flowers into a centerpiece or a lovely gift! 

Celebrate Easter with Pretty Blooms

While arrangments vary by store, you're sure to find something gorgeous at any Central Market location. And if you're still looking for the perfect arrangement, as our Floral Partners to help you customize your favorite flowers into a centerpiece or a lovely gift!