Who says aromatic herbs, says fragile aromas. It smells good as soon as you scrub the leaves mintcoriander, basil… but it also means that they are molecules that release easily, that are very volatile.
The whole point of cooking is to keep that aromatic freshness, and to make sure that these molecules stay in the preparation.
As an ingredient, like a salad, there is almost nothing to do, just cut at the last minute. There are zero calories antioxidants, fiber, often also iron, potassium, manganese…. And of course aromas.
Parsley is very rich in vitamin C, almost 190 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. Oranges in comparison contain only 50 mg, almost 4 times less. The Lebanese taboo, for example, is an energy booster.
For onions, tomatoes … there is too much risk of cutting them in advance. With herbs, it’s really best to do it at the last minute, it’s important for health benefits.
Aromatic molecules and the vitamins they contain are sensitive to heat, light and oxygen. By cutting in advance, you expose them to the air, you evaporate the aromas in the room, and you lose all the profits.
It’s the same for basil, you have to cut it at the last minute for a mozzarella salad for example, or even on a pizza, it can’t stand the heat.
In herbal oils or dressings
If you mix fresh herbs in the oil, you bring in oxygen, blow up the cells, and thus promote oxidation. Stale tastes appear, you quickly lose color and freshness.
If you bleach the herbs in boiling water very quickly, for a few seconds, and cool very quickly, this will “kill” the “enzyme” responsible for the oxidation. Then chop, ideally, finely chop rather than mix, as you will damage the cells less. They must then be kept in oil.
The green color remains very intense, and the tastes are preserved, this trick also applies to pesto. This oil is to be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 2-3 days maximum.
On the cooking side …
If you put the herbs at the beginning of cooking, basil tomato sauce, roast herbs, chicken, etc. you will lose all the aromatic molecules. The tarragon tarragon “starts” at 50 ° C.
Coriander aldehydes, 53 ° C, mint menthol, about 85 ° C. There is even an aromatic molecule of basil, which, isolated and pure, boils at 16 ° C. You have to think like an infusion.
Prepare the dish, and 2 minutes before serving, chop (without mixing) the herbs, place them on the plate, and even at the bottom of the dish. In this way, the aromas are trapped at the bottom.
Dry or dehydrated
This technique is not very interesting. All tastes are lost. You keep fiber, but it’s very expensive per kilo. The real lyophilization technique (cold dehydration) is effective but very expensive.
The technique used by industrialists is to dehydrate by heat, with a ventilated oven at about 40/50 ° C, but that no longer makes sense.
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