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Herbs & Garlic

HERBS & GARLIC

  • Bay leaves are used in many dishes. They must be discarded after cooking since their flavour is bitter if eaten. If you tie a piece of kitchen string to the stem of bay leaves, it's easier to find them when the dish is cooked.
  • The seeds and ribs are the parts of fresh chillies that contain the most heat. An easy way to cut them is to remove the cap and use your paring knife to cut off the flesh, leaving the seeds and ribs attached as a core. Discard the core, then chop the flesh.
  • Select fresh ginger that is plump and firm. The skin should be tan and shiny, not wrinkled or shrivelled.
  • It's easiest to chop ginger with a sharp paring knife. Peel the ginger and slice it against the grain into thin slices. Place a stack of slices together and cut into thin shreds. Then turn your cutting board and dice the shreds.
  • If you rub your hands with a few parsley sprigs after handling onion, it will take away much of the lingering smell.
  • An easy way to peel garlic is to separate the cloves from the head and hit them with the back of a small skillet or the flat side of a meat pounder. The skins will slip right off the garlic cloves.
  • If you're preparing a dish with fresh parsley, rinse the remaining parsley sprigs, discard the stems, and pat dry with Bounty paper towels. Wrap small amounts in plastic wrap and freeze them for future use. You can "chop" frozen parsley with the blunt side of a knife and use it for cooked dishes. Use fresh sprigs as a garnish.
  • Fresh herbs should be washed before storing in the refrigerator. Dry well and make a "bouquet"—cut off the ends of the stems, place in a glass of water, and store in the refrigerator. For extra shelf life, cover the herb bouquet loosely with a plastic bag.
  • Always start with the minimum amount of red pepper in a recipe. You can add more if you want it spicier, but you can't make it less spicy once red pepper flakes have been added.