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  • How to Rehydrate Freeze Dried Herbs?


    Freeze dried-herbs are practically the new norm in most kitchens. They not only last a long time sat on the shelf, they retain much of their original flavour and colour, and usually supply a decent enough nutrition boost, although usually, sadly, not the original liquid of course. And while it’s hugely possible to use almost all dried herbs in most any recipe (you can’t replace all fresh herbs with their dried versions, but you can get away with most other herb match-ups) there are almost always recipes that call for that extra touch, that added texture and that herby zing, where only fresh can do and dried will always be dried no matter how you treat it. Which is why now the rehydrating measures come into play. Can dried herbs be rehydrated or revitalised or reconstituted, you may ask; better yet, can dried herbs (even freeze-dried) be rehydrated, I ask? Here’s my step-by-step on how to rehydrate dried herbs, and from which you’ll be able to command your dishes to sing with the harvest of freshness.

    Rehydrate Dried Herbs: A Simple Process

    Measure: First the weight (measure), then think of a recipe. Dried herbs are four to six times more potent than fresh so the recipe is overstating what you need. About a third of the volume of dry to fresh seems about right.

    Steep water:

    Now make a bowl of warm water. Not boiling water. Boiling water might get appreciably hotter than liquid at 190F would be, and at that temperature you’re risking steam-cooking the herbs and warping the flavour profiles. Warm water, on the other hand, facilitates rehydration.

    Let soak Dried herbs should plump up and absorb warm water quickly. Whet your appetite, weigh out your dried herbs and put them in the big bowl with 500ml of warm water and stir to cover them. They should be fully immersed – use your fork to ensure they are all covering the water. While different herbs will require different amounts of time to absorb the liquid and plump up, a bare 10 minutes should work for most. The longer they sit, the more water they’ll suck up and the bigger they’ll get, with most of their crunch back.


    Drain the herbs of their soaking water through a fine-mesh strainer.

    Pat Dry:

    Pat dry with a paper towel. Drying them properly is important, so it doesn’t make the recipe watery.

    And there you go – your dried herbs are now re-moistened as needed for your recipe.

    Rehydrating Freeze-Dried Herbs

    Another ingredient well-suited to this type of storage – but rehydrated this time – is the humble herb. I love keeping a bottle of freeze-dried green garnishes (which I’ve piled up over the last few years), to sprinkle over cooked dishes. They take on the same rehydration characteristics as normal drying. Therefore, if you have freeze-dried herbs, here’s how to use the freeze-dried leaves: 1. Follow the instructions above. 2. In summer seasoning, sprinkle over meats at the last minute to give both colour and flavour. 3. Great for garnishing a plate of poured ‘Picaddilly broth’ in the winter. 4. Fantastic garnish for a plate of spaghetti bolognese. Freeze-dried herbs have more hue, flavour and, as previously mentioned, goodness than normal-dried versions.

    Rehydrating Herbs in Oil

    Another option is to rehydrate the dried herbs in oil: a trick for diehard oil users who like the idea of a little herbal punch. Rosemary, thyme and oregano will do the trick.

    To do this, store them in a sealed jar with some good-quality oil – olive or grapeseed are the best. Close it up and leave it for a few weeks; the oil will slowly rehydrate the dried herbs, drawing the flavour out of them and infusing the oil. This infused oil can then be used while cooking.

    Herbs 101

    It works equally well with traditionally dried, as with or freeze-dried herbs. Rehydration is just as easy. Warm up some water to the temperature that you would use to make a tea, fully immerse your herbs and leaving them to sit. If you are adding the dried herbs to an oil based dish, I find a rehydration in oil first (heat up in the microwave in its container then add the herbs) can be a nice go-to if you’ve got some cravings for some texture and flavour with your oil. warm up some water to the temperature that you would use to make a tea, fully immerse your herbs and leaving them to sit Bottom line, dried herbs can be an excellent option to enjoy the same herbs year-around. Keeping them well dry, especially if you snore for those that could be kept for longer, is a key factor; freeze-drying being the gold star and in the same time most convenient method. Whatever option you are going with – traditionally dried, or freeze-dried – the rehydration process is also simple. And there you have it: dried herbs, rehydrated! Happy cooking!



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