It is standard to add dry herbs and spices at the beginning of a recipe that may cook longer that 25 minutes such as a goulash, stew, braised beef, etc. When cooking with fresh herbs and spices, however, wait until the last five minutes of cooking to add them.
Once you have reached the last five minutes of your dish’s total cooking time, immediately add your fresh spices and herbs, such as cilantro, basil, minced garlic, etc. Adding fresh herbs and spices at the end of your cooking time prevents the herbs and spices from overcooking and having no flavor.
Wow, you’ll notice the difference! It will seem that your dish has just come to life. Always try to have some fresh herbs or spices on hand to add at the end of your recipe. This procedure can also work when cooking with a crock pot.
Daryll Hersche is chef/owner of Your Epicurean Affair, offering cooking lessons and personal chef services in your home. Contact him with your cooking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.