When it comes to herbs we often like to pick off the biggest and most lush green leaves before discarding the bulky stem. Usually we don’t want that much concentrated flavor of the herb or the texture of the crunchy stem in our dishes. This doesn’t mean you have to throw it away, though. There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the entire herb, including the stem, rather than just using about three leaves to add a touch of flavor to that meal you just made.
1. Blend It
Blending the entire herb next time you decide to make pesto or other herb pastes and sauces will make the flavor much richer and save you from throwing out that perfectly good herb stem. Find delicious pesto recipes here.
2. Make It Into a Butter
Flavored butter is pretty amazing. Imagine the flavor of spreading it on dinner rolls or on that morning toast. Check out how to make your own herb butter here.
3. Make Your Own Seasoning or Flavored Salt
This is another really cool way to use your leftover herb stems. Imagine telling your next dinner guest that you made the seasoning yourself. They will be so impressed with your culinary skills and ability to adult. So gather up your favorite spices, herbs, and salts and check out how to do it here.
4. Chop it Up
Sometimes you do want that extra crunch and flavor from the herb. So a great way to achieve this is to chop up the stems and sprinkle over your next salad, morning omelet, or dinner meat.
5. Infuse Oil or Vinegar
I find this method of utilizing the herb stems great because I’m absolutely obsessed with pasta, however sometimes pasta can be bland if you don’t have time to dress it up with tons of great ingredients and spices. So this is a great way to add a little more flavor to those meals you need to prepare quickly when you’re in the study zone. Make your own delicious herb infused oil or vinegar to drizzle over salad or pasta, but take note that the oil must be used relatively quickly. Check out this site to make sure you are infusing oil safely.
6. Grill it
After you’ve used the leaves place the herb stems under your food on the grill and it will actually flavor your food with the smoke. Pretty neat huh?
7. Infuse Water
This is a great way to drink more water too. You’ll look forward to trying out your cilantro lemon fizzy water, raspberry mint water, or that watermelon basil water waiting in your fridge. Check out some great recipes here.
8. Use it as Stock
Tie the herb stems you want to use together and throw them into your soup or stew to add flavor while it cooks and then pull the bunch out before serving.
9. Bake it
Every time I go to Subway or Publix I always order the bread with all the herbs in it because it’s just so good. So why not make your own? Finely chop the stem up and add it to a bread recipe to make some awesome sandwich bread for the week. Check this out for the best herbs to bake into bread as well as some great recipes.