Gourmet Traveller

Waste not, want not

Soft herbs

We define soft herbs as being, well, soft… with soft leaves and edible stems. These herbs have a higher water content than other herbs and are lower in aromatic oils. For this reason, they tend to have less flavour when dried, so use them fresh and in abundance.

For the most part, we add soft herbs at the end of cooking to retain their flavour – think of them as a way to liven and freshen up cooked meals. We also add them by the bunch to salads, and Alex uses every kind of soft herb (even the limp, neglected bunches at the bottom of the crisper) to make a whole spectrum of versatile green sauces and pestos. Like all leafy vegetables, soft herbs are high in vitamins A, C and K, and each herb is also prized for its medicinal properties, which we extract in home-brewed healing teas.

Soft green herbs are very delicate and need to be cared for – unfortunately, neglect means they are one of the most wasted ingredients bought at the supermarket. If you can, buy small amounts regularly and please try not to buy herbs wrapped in plastic. Smaller grocers with a high turnover will often sell herbs in

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