Herbes de Provence

It took until the 1970s for centuries-old admixtures of southeastern French summer herbs to take on a commercial flavor.  Blends of traditional, local dried herbs that began being sold in clay jars to tourist in Provence, were eventually commercially produced and can now be purchased in most any supermarket in America.  While there are several seemingly key ingredients such as rosemary, thyme and summer savory, there is actually no single, classic recipe for Herbes de Provence.  In fact, we found that recipes vary amazingly from ingredients to amounts.  While one recipe might call for several tablespoons of basil, two others might wholly neglect it, while insisting bay leaf is rudimentary.  The most debatable ingredient might be lavender flower, as some sources suggests it was added for the American palate and to placate tourist's association of lavender fields with Provence.  It might also be argued that fennel seed seems the most optional of the herbs.  But what is most clear is that Herbes de Provence is incredibly approachable and that making your own will transport your kitchen back to a more deliberate and patient time.  As the first days of spring approach we encourage you to make your own Herbes de Provence.  Preferably, plant several of the herbs listed below in your own garden, then dry the fresh cut herbs, seek out a few different recipes, and experiment making your own Herbes de Provence.  If you do not have the time or a place to grow herbs, simply purchase the dried herb varieties below and you can still make your own.  Please find several links below to help you and let us know how it goes!                   

Herbes de Provence can consist of:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Savory
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Fennel seed
  • Bay leaf
  • Tarragon
  • Chervil
  • Sage
  • Dill
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Uses

  • Marinade, dry rub or sparing table seasoning
  • Meats - especially lamb
  • Fish - notably swordfish and salmon
  • Poultry - chicken and pork chops
  • Vegetables
  • Soups and stews
  • Sauces - especially tomato sauces
  • Pizzas and breads
  • Soft cheeses - very light
  • Homemade ice cream / cookies
  • Grilling - sprinkle on coals to flavor grilling
  • Presents - make your own and give as gifts