How To Use and Preserve Your Herbs

I would suggest that, when buying dried spices, it's much better to buy those not yet ground so they do not lose their freshness as they sit on your shelf.  It's a much better practice to grind them as you need them.  Spice compnents responsible for the odor are actually fat-soluble, which is one of the reasons, for example, that garlic smells much better sauteed in olive oil than it does when it's only smashed in a mortar and pestle.  For the same reason, the way to intensify the flavor of a particular spice is to heat the olive oil in a skillet, the add the spices. Do a couple of quick stirs before adding the sauce ingredients to the spices.Another hint: When creating a sauce of  whatever nature, if you are using the dry version of spice, add it at the beginning of the cooking time.  When using fresh leaf spices (basil, for example), add them near the end of cooking time.  The reason, as you might have concluded, is that it takes longer to awaken the flavor of dried herbs than it does with the fresh version.If you want to store herbs from your garden for use in the winter, chop the fresh basil, oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary and store them one of two different ways: One: Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and make small piles-about one tablespoon-of the chopped herbs mixed together and freeze them for 24 hours.  After freezing, wrap each pile in a separate piece of plastic wrap, throw them all in a container to be put back in the freezer to be taken out when needed.  These little bundles of mixed spices can be dumped in soup or in the sauce when grilled chicken, or mixed together with vegetables before roasting.  Two: Saute the chopped spices in olive oil, putting the mixture in a jar, making certain to eliminate any air pockets, the close the jar after pouring about a half-inch of olive oil on top of the spices to seal the spices in.  Tighten the lid of  the jar and keep it refrigerated until needed.  When you use some of these stored spices, add more olive oil on top before putting it back in the .refrigeratorYou can, without doubt, think of dozen ways other than my suggestions to use spices stored in these manner.Mint and Bulgur Salad **For Gluten free version, use quineo or kashaserves 41       cup coarse bulgur of #3, Soak in wate until soft1       medium tomato, diced1       small sweet onion, diced1       cup cooked garbanzo beans2       medium cucumber, diced2       cups finely chopped fresh mint1/4   cup lemon juicezest of one lemon1/4  cup olive oilsalt to taste-Squeeze excess water from the bulgur wheat and place in salad bowl.-Add the vegetables, the bean and the mint and toss well.-Whisk the olive oil with the lemon zest, the salt and the lemon juice. Drizzle over the vegetables mixture and toss until well coated.