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Q What’s the best way to store dried herbs?

Michael Bowden, Rose­bud, Vic

A Al­though fresh herbs are a huge part of the way food tastes and looks, most fresh herbs (es­pe­cially the leafy va­ri­eties) are at their peak dur­ing the warmer months. The qual­ity drops and they be­come ex­pen­sive dur­ing the cooler months. Dried herbs are a more bud­get-friendly, year-round op­tion. Even if you use a lot of fresh herbs, it’s a good idea to al­ways have a few va­ri­eties of dried herbs, such as pars­ley, oregano and thyme, on hand. Dried herbs add great flavours to bread doughs and also liven up casseroles and sim­mers. But un­like fresh herbs, re­mem­ber to al­ways add at the be­gin­ning of cook­ing, so the flavour is slowly re­leased dur­ing the cook­ing process. Look for dried herbs sold in air­tight con­tain­ers. If pur­chased in plas­tic pack­ag­ing, it’s a good idea to trans­fer them to an air­tight con­tainer for stor­ing. Keep in a cool, dark place, but not near the oven or stove­top! Dried herbs, just like spices, are af­fected by heat, re­sult­ing in a much shorter shelf life.

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Have a ques­tion for Amanda about cook­ing? Send it, along with your full name and town or sub­urb, to recipes­plus@bauer-me­dia.com.au for your chance to have it pub­lished and win a prize.

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