A Guide to Spring Herbs and How to Maximize Their FlavorIn my post, Save Money This Spring by Cooking with Seasonal Produce, I mentioned that spring is the season of fresh herbs.

These fragile looking herbs are among the first shoots out of the soil in the spring.

Many people are hesitant about buying fresh herbs, as they often use them for just one dish and have over half a bunch remaining that will sit there until they have to be tossed out. I make sure that I plan ahead and only buy a bunch of herbs if I know that I will use in multiple recipes. That way I can plan out my weekly shopping more efficiently and still infuse my dishes with fresh herbs.

Below are a list of my favorites, their uses, and some meal ideas to make sure you get the most out of every bunch.

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Chervil - This herb is very popular in France where it is combined with other spring herbs, such as chives, parsley, and tarragon to form "fines herbs," a fragrant herb seasoning. Similar to parsley but lighter in flavor, it is best used for its delicate flavor. Try making this Chervil Butter Sauce and serving it with chicken or seafood dishes, or adding it to your scrambled eggs or potato salad for an interesting twist.

Chives - Usually the first herbs to break through the ground in the spring time, chives are a member of the onion and garlic family and have a milder taste. This slight onion taste works well with potato and fish dishes, and chopped chives are used to garnish soups, salads, and quiches. Try them in dishes such as Pork and Potato Croquettes, Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes, or to garnish a soup such as Cream of Celery.

Dandelion - Often regarded as a weed, it is now being used with increasing regularity, as it once was years ago; historically, and dandelions are in fact an herb. As well as the flower, the greens are also edible and are usually blanched before eating to remove any bitterness; try them in this recipe with onions and garlic. Try the leaves raw in this Dandelion, Red Onion and Tomato Salad, or stewed in this Dandelion Wine.

Dill - Dill is a fine fronded leaf which is well known for being used in Northern European fish dishes, such as this Gravlax with a Mustard-Dill Sauce. It is also commonly used in the U.S. to make Dill Pickles or it is served with baked salmon and a cream sauce. Experiment with other cooking techniques such as grilling, like in this recipe for Salmon Burgers with a Dill Tartar Sauce.

Mint - This herb is extremely versatile. You are just as likely to find this spicy yet cooling herb on the entree section of a menu as the dessert page. If you think about all the common uses for mint, it is possibly one of the herbs you taste most often: it is in chewing gum, toothpaste, and breath fresheners. It also has some more delicious uses too, such as in this Spring Frittata, served with Roasted Leg of Spring Lamb, or if you want to be slightly naughty, a traditional Mint Julep cocktail.

Parsley - Parsley is the world's most commonly bought herb. While it used extensively in its native country of Italy, the ease with which it grows in other climates helps bring the price of the herb down and increases its availability worldwide. Often used as a garnish for soups and entrees, it is a wonderful flavor enhancer when paired with cilantro in the Argentine classic, Chimichurri Sauce and it is part of the French flavor packet, Bouquet Garni, used to flavor soups, stews and braises.

Tarragon - French tarragon is preferred over Russian tarragon due to its more potent flavor. It is most famously paired with steak in Béarnaise Sauce but works equally well with chicken, as these recipes show: Tarragon Chicken Salad and Sautéed Chicken Breasts with a Curried Tarragon and White Wine Reduction.

What are some of your favorite herbs and how do you like to use them?

Related posts:

Save Money This Spring by Cooking With Seasonal Produce

Making the Most of Some of the Inexpensive Spring Produce

How to Save Money on Store Bought Salad Dressing, Make Your Own

 Vienna NowellVienna Nowell

Vienna currently resides in New York City, but is originally from London. She is a contributing writer under the A Straight Talk on Debt and Savvy Spender blogs. She and her husband are recently married and they are contemplating taking the nexgt big step and buying their first home.  They are still working their way through the process of buying an apartment, and Vienna and her husband are learning as they go. Vienna also writes a food blog Tiny Test Kitchen, is a freelance writer, chef and food stylist. Read more posts by Vienna here. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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