Herbs: Dried vs Fresh (and how much to use)...in this case it's Mint

If I have a recipe that calls for dried mint, but want the option to use fresh instead. I looked it up elsewhere online and the source said that with herbs, you should use 3 times the amount of fresh for the amount of dried, but that with mint, the dried and fresh amounts should be equal. Thoughts? Opinions? Let me know what you think! Thanks!

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Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser February 21, 2011

I use 2 times the amount of fresh for the amount of dried for all herbs -- even with mint. I don't think fresh mint is any more potent than other fresh herbs.

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nutcakes
nutcakes February 21, 2011

I'd tend to use the larger amount of fresh. What are you making? I feel I just went through this but I can't recall what I was making.

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames February 21, 2011

Make sure you remove the stems as well as the end of each leaf that attaches to the stem, when chopping the mint, as they can be bitter (assuming of course you don't want that bitterness). ;o)

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cookinginvictoria
cookinginvictoria February 21, 2011

I recently made this food52 recipe, http://www.food52.com/recipes... called for dried mint and I subbed fresh mint. I doubled the amount and thought that that proportion worked well.

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pierino
pierino February 21, 2011

Dried mint tastes like dust to me. I would definitely use fresh, but of course taste as you go.

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katiebakes
katiebakes February 21, 2011

Fresh mint is always best! I normally use double the amount of fresh as dried, but even using 3 times as much won't matter- probably just make it better :)

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elizabeth c
elizabeth c February 21, 2011

Great thanks so much for all of guidance!

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cc
cc June 30, 2016

To Pierino - Who said that dried mint tasted like dust. You MUST try Penzey's Spices! What you get at the grocery store tastes old by comparison. For example: The first time I used Penzey's granulated garlic I used the same amount I normally used and I had to toss what I made and start over. It was so fresh and sharp you only need a little. Moral of the story used less of Penzey's spices and taste often as you cook.

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pierino
pierino June 30, 2016

I do buy dried herbs from Penzey's but mint is not an herb that survives drying with anything like its true flavor intact.

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames June 30, 2016

pierino, I agree, but here's something to keep in mind. Some Middle Eastern recipes actually call for dried mint, as it has a unique taste considered better for certain dishes. E.g., http://www.maureenabood.com/2011/07/21/yogurt-cucumber-salad-with-mint/
The only dried mint I ever use is that which I've dried in the microwave. Remove the leaves from the stems, layer between paper towels, run at 75% power at 20 second intervals, stopping when the leaves are dry but not yet turning brown. They have quite a bit of flavor.
I use the same method when I trim back my marjoram plant. I put the long sprangly sprigs in the microwave, stripping the leaves off quickly once dry.
Microwave drying takes only a couple of minutes - one of those lovely short tasks to sandwich between others, during the short periods of down-time, or even while waiting for one's tea kettle to sing. ;o)

Smaug
Smaug July 1, 2016

Herbs are a fine example of Vonnegut's concept of the "granfaloon"- things that seem to be related but aren't. In particular, soft herbs (which are mostly annual, biennial or, like mint and tarragon, herbaceous perennials) do not behave anything like the oil laden shrubby perennials like thyme, rosemary, etc. when dried- most (or all) of them dry badly. As a rule, generalizations about herbs are pretty misleading- it just includes too large and varied a group of substances.

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