Why you shouldn’t throw away herb stems

herb stems

The stems of dill, parsley, and other herbs can be fibrous, tough, and crunchy. They are not suitable for raw dishes like salads. However, I explain in this post why you don’t have to give up their flavor.

stems of parsley and dill
The stems of parsley (left) and dill (right).

So the herb stems can be used:

To flavor sautéed dishes
Finely chopped herb stems can be sautéed along with vegetables, tofu, meat, or fish.

The stems of “softer” herbs like basil, cilantro, lemon balm, or mint are suitable for pestos.

vegetable broth

As a base for broths and sauces
As the herb stems can be frozen and stored for a long time, they can be collected along with other vegetable scraps. I have a bowl for that in my freezer. When it’s full, I put the vegetable and herb scraps in a pot, pour cold water over them, and then let them simmer for an hour.

This vegetable broth can be used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. Or it can be reduced and then frozen.

Herb oil from parsley stems
Herb oil from parsley stems.

Herb oil
Flavoring oil is easy. The herb stems are chopped and placed in a glass jar and poured with oil. They should be completely covered with oil.

I place the jar in the refrigerator for about five days. Then the oil is strained. The stems should not be left in the oil as they may spoil.

Dill stems as herb vinegar
Dill stems as herb vinegar (but didn’t taste really good).

To refine vegetable dishes and soups
When the stems are added to the pot at the beginning of the cooking time, they become pleasantly soft and can be used like soup vegetables.

fennel in the garden
Fennel in the garden. The fibrous stems are good in a cucumber broth.

Cucumber brine
Dill stems can be frozen and added to a cucumber brine. By the way, the leftover fennel bulbs go well with it.

broth made from leftovers
Tastes different every time: Vegetable broth made from leftovers. Red beet is responsible for the red color. The green stuff is Vietnamese coriander – a knotweed not related to coriander.