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Basic Info on Common Culinary Herbs

Basic Information on Common Culinary Herbs

Variety Description Uses / Affinities
Basil Leaves are pointed and green. Purple, large or small leafed varieties are available. Flavoring for sauces, pesto sauce, dressing, infusing oils, vinegar etc. Also available in dried-leaf form. Chicken, fish and pasta dishes.
Bay Leaf Smooth and rigid leaf. Available dried year-round. Used to flavor soups, stews, stocks, sauces and grain dishes.
Chervil Similar in shape to parsley, with finer leaves and licorice flavor. Component of "fine herbs" often used to garnish dishes. Egg, chicken, shellfish dishes.
Cilantro Similar in shape to parsley with pronounced and unique flavor. Component of Asian and South/Central American dishes. Flavoring for salsa and other uncooked sauces.
Dill Feathery shape with strong aroma. Fresh is used to flavor sauces, stews and braises. Seeds used in pickles.
Marjoram Small, rounded leaves with a flavor similar to oregano. Used in Greek, Italian and Mexican dishes. Especially suitable for vegetable dishes.
Mint Pointed and textured leaves. Size varies by type, as does particular flavor. Used to flavor sweet dishes, beverages and in some sauces. Mint jelly is traditional with lamb dishes.
Oregano Small and oval leaves. Used with a variety of sauces in poultry, beef, veal, lamb and vegetables.
Parsley Feathered leaves and may be curly or flat. Component of "fine herbs" and of bouquet garni. Flavoring for sauces, soups, dressings and other dishes as garnish.
Rosemary Leaves shaped like pine needles with a pine aroma and flavor. Large branches used as skewers. Popular in Middle Eastern dishes, grilled foods and in marinades. Dried is nearly as intense in flavor as fresh.
Sage Large leaves and may be furry or velvety. Green color. Popular as flavoring in stuffing, sausages and some stews. Dried, rubbed sage also available.
Savory Summer savory has flavor similar to thyme. Winter savory is more like rosemary. Used in salads, stuffing and sauces.
Tarragon Narrow leaves with pronounced licorice flavor. Another component of "fine herbs". Used with chicken, fish, veal and egg dishes.
Thyme Very small leaves. Varieties available with special flavors (nutmeg, mint, lemon, etc) Part of bouquet garni. Dried leaves may occasionally be used in place of fresh. Used to flavor soups, stocks, stews and braises.

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