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About Herbs

herbs on windowsill

What are herbs?

Herbs are the edible and aromatic leaves of some varieties of  plants.  They are sometimes used for medicinal and religious purposes, but they are most often used for culinary purposes.  Imparting strong and vibrant flavors to all kinds of dishes from around the globe, herbs are also a welcome addition to any garden with their delicious scent, beautiful foliage, and often colorful blossoms.

What’s the difference between herbs and spices?

Herbs are the edible leaves and stems of some varieties of plants, while spices are the flavorful seeds, bark, or flower buds of plants.  While spices are often ground into a fine powder to release their flavor, herbs only need to be chopped, crushed, or muddled.

Why use fresh herbs in place of dried?

Fresh herbs impart a purer and fresher flavor to foods than dried herbs, which have lost some of their essential oils during the drying process.  Because dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh herbs, substitute fresh herbs for dried at a three to one ration or one tablespoon of fresh herbs for every teaspoon of dried herbs.

Why use Organic herbs?

USDA Organic Logo Organic herbs are free of synthetic fertilizers, chemical herbicides, and pesticides that have not been approved by the USDA National Organic Program, so they are a healthy choice for both consumers and the environment.

Where to buy fresh, organic herbs?

Shenandoah Growers, located in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, has been growing fresh, organic herbs since 1989.  Their fresh cut and living organic herbs are of the highest quality, grown by farmers who truly care about creating a sustainable, nutritious, flavorful, and satisfying product for their customers.  Shenandoah Growers’ products are available at fine grocery stores in the eastern region of the United States.

living herbs rack

47 Comments

  1. Posted January 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Can fresh herbs be frozen to keep them longer?

    • freshherbs
      Posted February 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Check out this post, hopefully it will give you more insight into freezing fresh herbs.

      http://www.freshherbs.com/2010/10/step-by-step-freezing-basil/

    • Fran G.
      Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes you can freeze them. I freeze chives, dill, & parsley, the ones I use most. I’ve done Basil but it turns dark very quick, I make pesto & freeze that with a bit of oil on top to keep it nice & green.
      I freeze herbs in plastic jars ( peanut butter size or use canning jars) The herbs don’t freeze together into a solid lump so just pack them in the jar, then scarp off what you need while still frozen.

  2. GinofromFlorida
    Posted January 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Chef Herb looks familiar, must have run across him. The roll and herbs look delicious! I will try them soon and report back…

  3. MegCooks
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Do you have tips on starting my own herb garden?

    Can you replant the Shenandoah herbs?

    • freshherbs
      Posted February 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      These herbs are grown to be kept in your kitchen and used in your everyday cooking. With that said, we recommend that you always water the plants from the bottom and allow them some access to natural light. I hope this helps!

  4. Edna
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Hi

    Like to know why you recommend the plants to be indoors and not outdoors. Is it because of insects going on them? Can the plants be repotted? Why do you recommend to water from the bottom? Should all plants be watered that way and not adding the water to the soil? Let me know. Thanks

    • freshherbs
      Posted February 28, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      These plants are grown to be kept indoors and used in your cooking on a regular basis. The herbs are harvested with a high oil content which is what gives the leaves their flavor. While some of the herbs will last longer than others, the general shelf life is 7-10 days; so we recommend that they remain in the kitchen where the leaves can be snipped, tossed into your everyday foods and you can taste the difference.

      Herbs in particular should be watered from the bottom to avoid getting the leaves wet, which can promote rapid decay. By watering from the bottom, the roots absorb the water they need and the leaves remain dry.

      Thank you for your comment, I hope this information is helpful!

  5. Kay
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Ok I am new to using fresh herbs, so please bear with me. Thanks
    I was at the Womens show this past weekend. Where I picked up 2 herb plants, Parsley and Rosemary. If I cut the Parsley at the bottom of the steam ( above the dirt level) to use in a dish will it grow some more from the roots or once it is cut and all is harvested thats it folks time to plant some more. I am thinking that the Rosemary will keep growing new limbs with new growth would this be correct?
    My house is not plant friendly ( not much sunlight) so if I plant herbs out side in a garden what is the best way to water them? I see you mention to water from the bottom to prevent leaf rot. Will the early morning due promote leaf rot as well? Will full sun be ok for them to grow in? Thanks and any other information you can provide me with would be greatly appreciated. I feel the need to get some dirt under my finger nails and play in the dirt.

    • freshherbs
      Posted March 15, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you for coming to our booth at the Southern Woman’s Show in Memphis! To answer your question, once you harvest all the leaves from either the Rosemary or the Parsley, the plant will not regenerate itself.

      Keeping living herbs in the kitchen allows you to have easy access to them and is a daily reminder of the wonderful flavors that fresh herbs can add to your meals, but some people prefer to keep their herb plants out of doors. To plant your living herb outside, simply remove the plant and roots from the plastic pot in which you purchased them and transplant them into your garden or into a larger pot. It is best to keep most herb plants in a partly sunny location, avoiding full sun if possible. Water your herb plant when the soil is dry, and cut the leaves as you need them for your meals.

  6. Tammy
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I was very excited to buy two of your herbs at the Southern Women’s Show yesterday and very disappointed to come home and find that I hadn’t bought plants at all, just a week’s worth of herbs. Nothing in the literature at the show or on the plant itself indicates this. I think you owe it to your customers to make it clear, before purchase, that they’re not buying plants, just the equivalent of freshly cut herbs. Some people may not mind, but I am very disappointed and it’s left a really bad taste in my mouth about your company. I feel I was mislead.

    • freshherbs
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment. To better help you understand our Organic Living Herbs, they are meant to remain in your kitchen to be able to use in your cooking everyday. We recommend that you always water the plants from the bottom, give them some natural light and the plant should continue to stay fresh while you harvest the leaves.

      Keeping living herbs in the kitchen allows you to have easy access to them and is a daily reminder of the wonderful flavors that fresh herbs can add to your meals, but some people prefer to keep their herb plants out of doors. To plant your living herb outside, simply remove the plant and roots from the plastic pot in which you purchased them and transplant them into your garden or into a larger pot. It is best to keep most herb plants in a partly sunny location, avoiding full sun if possible. Water your herb plant when the soil is dry, and cut the leaves as you need them for your meals.

      • Stephanie
        Posted January 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        I am confused. What does the above commenter Tammy mean by they are not plants. I have bought basil and it is doing very well and my grandmother re-potted it into a larger container and I have had the basil for over a month and it is doing great. It has grown new leaves and everything. Since the basil did so well, I bought a mint, parsley, and cilantro plant and I hope to get the same results. What is the difference between a live plant and the “organic living herbs” you sell?

        • freshherbs
          Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          We are so happy that your plants are doing well – that is what we like to hear! The plants that you referenced are our “organic living herbs”. We grow our organic living herbs in our greenhouses in Harrisonburg, VA year round to provide you with a fresh, living herb that you can keep in your kitchen. We recommend that you snip the leaves and use them in your cooking everyday. We hope that you continue to enjoy our plants and be sure to share with us how you use your herbs, we love hearing new ideas. You can share with us on this website or on our Facebook page here.

    • Darlene
      Posted March 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      I have also purchased these fresh herbs. I purchased the basil intending to keep it on the kitchen table, but it lasted not longer than 2 weeks. Thinking I may have done something wrong (eventhough I watered from the bottom and kept in the light but not direct sunlight as directed.) It started dying?????????? I went and bought another and kept in the plastic and put a small water catcher at bottom to water. Lasted about 3 weeks but is now dying. WHY??????? Is this not a plant that should survive indoors? The ones in the store still look good. What is going on here? We use basil all the time even the kids snip leaves off to wrap around their string cheese. There are still leaves but the stems start drooping and then the plant withers away. WHY???? W H Y ???

      • freshherbs
        Posted March 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Great question. The organic living herb plants are not grown to last forever, in fact, the average life of the indoor basil plant, for example, is 7-10 days from the time of purchase. These herbs are grown to maximize the oils in the leaves to enhance the flavor and aromas; which is what enhances the flavor in your foods. We encourage all of our customers to keep the herbs in their kitchens, snip the leaves to enjoy in their meals. As the leaves are harvested from the plant, it will perish.

        Please see more information on this subject by visiting http://www.freshherbs.com/shopping-for-herbs/, and reading through the material. There are more frequently asked questions addressed there. Hopefully this is helpful!

      • Kay Morrison
        Posted August 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        I wondered why ours kept dying no matter how hard we tried to keep them alive. We watered, keep them in semi-sun, and babied them. Now I know! Okay, that’s fine that the company makes them to die within 7-10, but why not explain that on the label so we don’t think that we’ve done something wrong when they die.

        • freshherbs
          Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          The life of the herb plants vary so much and are a result of countless factors. They are grown to be used fresh, as a way to keep herbs in your kitchen, not indefinitely, but for about 7-10 days while you have time to prepare meals and use them to enhance the flavor. The best thing to do is to keep them watered and in semi-sun until you are ready to use them. Some people do have success planting them outside as well.

        • Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          Kay Morrison, I’m in that same boat! UGH!!! I tried and tried my best to pay attention to this plant and failed! VERY WEIRD THAT THE COMPANY DOES NOT MENTION THIS ON THE PACKAGE!!! TO BE NICE TO OTHERS AND HELP THEM SAVE MONEY I WILL BE POSTING THIS ON FACEBOOK! RIP OFF!

  7. Smiles
    Posted April 10, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I have just purchased two of your herbs. I have just read some of the comments. If I transplant this specimen to a pot with potting soil will it just die or will it survive and grow. If it will just die, I feel that I was misled in the purchase.

    • freshherbs
      Posted April 11, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your question. Some herbs have a higher success rate. Herbs such as thyme, mint, oregano and rosemary are much heartier and have a better chance of surviving.

      Our fresh organic herbs are grown to be full of essential oils which give them the flavor and aromas necessary for cooking. We suggest that the herbs remain in the kitchen and used in your foods everyday. For those people who wish to transplant them, we encourage you to read the common questions found on this web page: http://www.freshherbs.com/shopping-for-herbs/

      I hope this helps! Thank you.

    • urban farmer
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Well if you leave the plants in the origional (small containers) they will die and won’t last long, as they don’t have any room left to grow. But if you plant them in a bigger container or outdoor, they will thrive and last a lot longer.

  8. Nicole
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I just bought a pack of your fresh roasting blend, which is a great idea, however, there was only one sprig of rosemary. The rest of the pack was split between thyme and parsley. I understand that there will be some variation to the amounts, but it would be helpful to have more than just one sprig. Thanks.

    • freshherbs
      Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the feedback. That is our standard way of packing the blends, it is good to get this kind of feedback from customers so we will take that into consideration.

  9. Marianne Brody
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I purchased your herbs in the small plastic containers from the supermarket. How long do they last, there is no date on the package. Thank you.

    • freshherbs
      Posted May 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      It depends on how much you harvest the herbs. Based on the provided soil and growth stage, you can expect to keep the plant for a week or two with moderate picking. Keep them in plenty of sun and water from the bottom by placing them in a bowl or dish. Also be sure to remove the sleeve at the perforation. Thanks and enjoy!

  10. Therese smyers
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I am very disappointed in your herbs. Three times now I bought basil & parsley and in a day or two they are completely dead. I went shoppping Saturnday night and picked up more basil and it is dead.I feel all I have done is waste my hard earned money. I have bought those packaged herbs in the plastic shell containers and they have lasted a month. What is happening? To even find a good plant I had to search hard though the herbs.

    • freshherbs
      Posted May 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Therese – so sorry this is happening… Please trust that the plants are grown in the finest soil and from the best seeds. So with that said – something environmental is taking the plant to this state. Lots of sun, is a must… and have you placed the plant in a dish or shallow bowl and watered by pouring water into the dish? Be sure to remove the sleeve at the perforation. Also, make sure you don’t have a vent or anything of the sort blowing on the plant that could dry it out. Please let us know if this helps – and we are truly sorry that your experience has been less than desirable.

  11. jenn
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    help! :) I keep killing the herbs I buy, I’ve killed mint, thyme,dill and parsley? Am I over watering ? I follow the directions, ripping the top portion of the wrapper off and placing in a sunny location? I love having fresh herbs.

    Thanks for the insight and a great product!

    • freshherbs
      Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      We commend you for being diligent with your efforts! It sounds like you are doing right by following the directions and ripping off the wrapper and placing in a sunny location. Some of the herbs have a longer shelf life indoors than do others. We recommend that in any case, you try to use mint, dill and parsley within 2 weeks of purchase because those plants tend not to live for an extended period inside. The thyme should be used with 3-4 weeks from purchase. We hope this helps.

  12. melissa m vidra
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    i would like to transfer my basil plants to small ceramic pots for a better looking plant. is this recommended to do or should i keep them in the plastic containers they were bought in?

    thanks!

    • freshherbs
      Posted August 2, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      We have some detailed information that should help answer this question on our FAQ page. Please see the page here and let us know if you have further questions.

  13. Brittney
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    how do you prepare fresh herbs for use in cooking?

  14. Posted February 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Have fresh herbs lost some of their strength in taste over the last couple of years? It seems to me the fresh herbs I have been buying in the grocery store like dill and cilantro don’t have the vibrancy they once had.

  15. Carol Hixson
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    In reading the comments stating that the herb plants do not live long and they are only supposed to live 7-10 days, I thought I would give you my comments. I have had a basil plant for almost a year and it is still living and producing leaves. Some times I have to wait for a few days to get enough leaves for a recipe but nevertheless it is alive and well. I keep it near a window and water it from the bottom as directed. I also have an italian parsley that I have had probably 10 months it is doing the same. Now I just purchased a cilantro to add to my kitchen herb garden. I will see if it does as well. In my experience they are the best food value I have found and make wonderful tasting food.

    • freshherbs
      Posted March 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing, this is great feedback and we are so thankful that you are enjoying your plants well beyond a few days. Many people do have success with keeping the plants on their patios or in the kitchen for longer periods of time and we love to hear that. We hope you are enjoying the fresh flavors that the herbs add to your meals.

  16. Posted April 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    We are creating about 30 centerpieces for a conference and donating them to local food shelters and home less shelter kitchens. I want them to display fresh and lush and some of the store items look limp and unhealthy. I was wondering if I should buy them in advance and clip and clean. Is there something I can feed them to help them grow lush?

    • SarahYoder
      Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      For such an event, it is better to buy the best looking plants in the store as close to your event date as possible. These plants are harvested at maturity in order for the user to keep in their kitchen and use. The idea of taking a plant that looks unhealthy and bringing it back to a lush plant without transplanting into a larger pot or garden is not ideal.

  17. Oscar Ramos
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    how can organic herbs be planted without using pesticides and chemicals that hurt the enviorment

    • SarahYoder
      Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      We recommend that our Organic Living Herbs remain in your kitchen for use. If you choose to plan them outside, you may be able to find some organic plant feed at a local retailer.

  18. Tatiana Secherest
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I just bought 9 plants ( or not), I was under the impression that I was purchasing a herb plant. Why don’t the packaging state the facts? This is misleading . I hope I didn’t waste my cash. I will keep you posted.

    • FreshHerbs
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry that you had a negative experience. Can you please give us more details and we will look into the issues and see if we can offer some advice?

  19. RENZO
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    WHERE CAN I BUY YOUR PLANTS. I SAW SOME BASIL PLANTS AT WALMART BUT I WOULD LIKE OTHER ONES TOO LIKE ROSEMARY, SAGE PARSLEY ETC.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR ANSWER

    • FreshHerbs
      Posted November 27, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Sage is a seasonal plant that we grow and ship to grocery stores only during November and December, at this point. The other items you should be able to find in most grocery stores on the East Coast. If you let us know the state or city in which you generally shop, we may be able to give you a more specific list. Please send an email to herbs@freshherbs.com.

  20. Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    This is very BAD business when you DON’T let your costumers know that you will have your beautiful herbs from only “for about 7-10 days” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ***** I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE CUSTOMERS TO PLEASE PASS THIS INFO ON TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!

    ***************** WASTE OF HARD WORKING MONEY **********************

    • FreshHerbs
      Posted August 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      We are very sorry to hear that our products do not meet your expectations. At Shenandoah Growers, we strive to provide the best products at the best value. In regards to our Organic Living herbs specifically, they are harvested at the peak time of flavor and since all the seeds that were originally sown have fully germinated, the plant will not regenerate if all the leaves are harvested from the plant.

      Many people have had success keeping the plants alive beyond 7-10 days if they place in a well lit location, keep watered from the bottom and do not harvest all the leaves. Many others have transplanted the herbs to an outdoor pot or garden. If you have any specific concerns, please feel free to send us an email directly at herbs@freshherbs.com and we will try to provide you with further answers.

  21. Patti
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Hello, can I dry left over herbs to use later? I have a lot of rosemary and thyme left over after I used some in a recipe and I don’t want it to go to waste.

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