This visual guide to herb identification makes identifying fresh herbs a snap.
How well do you know the names of the fresh herbs? Many herbs look quite similar, so it’s easy to be confused.
I can’t tell you how many times I have come back from a shopping trip with a bunch of cilantro, thinking that I had picked up flat leaf parsley. These two herbs may look similar but have a very different taste when used in recipes, so it pays to know what you are buying.
Another herb that has a look alike cousin is oregano. Look at the marjoram leaves in the picture above. Can you see how easily it would be to get confused between the two?
Read on for a refresher course in identifying herbs. You’ll be a herb master in no time!
Herb identification – Do you know your herbs?
Most people know the names of a few fresh herbs that are most commonly used in recipes. Basil and rosemary have quite a distinctive look so it’s easy to remember what they are.
However, many other herbs have a very similar leaf structure, especially if the plant is not too developed. This can make it hard to identify the plant you have in front of you.
Let’s make it easier for you with some photos of herbs with their names. I’ve also added links to pages with growing tips if you decide you would like to grow them at home.
Herb gardening information
I am in the process of writing several articles that give information on how to grow and use the various herbs in the photo above above. Be sure to check back often to see more posts.
Just click on any of the links below to find out more about that fresh herb.
If you have always used dried herbs and spices then you are probably lost when it comes to trying to identifying fresh herbs.
The handy herb identification chart at the top of the page will come come in handy. I have included the herbs that most cooks may come in contact with.
Guide to identifying herbs
Armed with this handy chart, you’ll soon be an expert at guessing the names of herbs by sight. The next step will be learning about the smell of different herbs. I find that even more interesting.
We’ve all seen those little bubble packs of fresh herbs at the grocery store, but did you know that you can easily grow herbs yourself? I’ve written a complete guide that will give you all the information you need in one place. Be sure to check out my guide to growing herbs.
I hope you enjoy using this convenient herb identification chart. I would suggest that you pin it to Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
How to store herbs to use later
Fresh herbs will go bad quickly, so it is useful to know how to store and preserve them for later use. You can freeze herbs whole or freeze them in olive oil or water in single serving uses.
Making vinegar or herb butter is also a way to use up extra herbs at the end of the growing season. Check out this post for information on lots of different ways to preserve herbs.
How long will dried herbs last?
Dried herbs lose a lot of their aromatic properties as soon as the heat hits them. This also means that they lose a lot of their flavor.
However, dried herbs will last for quite a long time. 1 – 3 years is not uncommon, although much of the flavor will be gone by that time.
Find out more about storing dried herbs here.
Pin the herb identification chart.
If you would like a reminder of this chart for identifying herbs, just pin this image to one of your gardening board on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
For more identification, be sure to check out my list of perennial herbs and watch the video at the top of this page for photos and names of more herbs.
- Glossy photo paper or heavy card stock
- Deskjet Printer
- Add heavy card stock or glossy photo paper to your printer.
- Be sure to set the printer to portrait and "fit to page."
- Print out the herb identification chart and keep with your gardening journal.
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