As a serviceably good cook, I am always trying to better understand the interactions of flavors; how ingredients, heat, time, and technique make the alchemy of great cooking possible. Understanding herbs, how to handle them, how to cook with them, and how to pair them with various foods, has been something of a blind spot to me. Until now. I decided it was time to go to herb academy and that Make: contributor, Alex Gabriel, of French Guy Cooking, was going to be my teacher.

Alex has made a series of videos exploring the virtues of dried herbs, how to dry your own in a microwave, and understanding herbs in general and how to use them in cooking to best effect.

In this video, Alex runs through six essential herbs (Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Thyme, Bay leaf, Oregano), the best ways of buying dried herbs, and how to store them. He also has six herb pairing charts that he drew that he holds up during the video so that you can pause, screen cap, and print them out. He also has the six charts available in PDF format for his Patreon subscribers.

herbs

One of the many wonderful things about Alex’s channel is that he’s not only a food geek, he’s a GEEK-GEEK! He loves to experiment, to hack and improvise, and to better understand what is going on scientifically with the food that he’s working with. In the following video, he challenges himself to figure out a way to dry fresh herbs in his microwave oven. It takes a number of experiments and tweaks to his drying set-up, but he’s eventually able to uniformly dry his own herbs and get better color and flavor than store-bought dry herbs.

In this final video, Alex lays down the 101 on 12 essential herbs every cook should know and be comfortable using: Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Coriander, Cilantro, Bay leaf, Chive, Mint, Tarragon, and Oregano.