For many people, a trip to the farmer’s market ends with a bounty of wonderful produce: tomatoes, melons, corn…all great components to a healthful summer meal. But don’t pass by the vendors whose wares are more delicate—the farmers who grow and sell herbs deserve some attention as well.

Fresh herbs are an excellent way to add flavor to your dishes without adding fat, sugar or salt. If a recipe calls for dried herbs, you can often substitute fresh. You’ll need more of the fresh herbs than dried for a comparable flavor, usually 3-4 times as much. You can chop fresh herbs with a knife or snip with your kitchen scissors. Each herb can be kept for around one week, if stored properly. Here are a few of the more common herbs and a little about them.

Herb 

Taste & how
to use 

Storage 

Basil 

Sweet with a faint taste of clove. Use in Italian or Mediterranean dishes or with vegetables, especially tomatoes or peas.Treat them like a bouquet of flowers: Trim the ends, place in a glass with about an inch of water, and keep at room temperature. May also be refrigerated with a bag placed loosely over the top of bouquet.

Chives 

Mild onion essence. Pairs well with sauces and dips or as an addition to salads.Do not rinse until just before using. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and keep in the warmest part of your refrigerator—such as in the door.

Cilantro 

Peppery and sharp-flavored. Use in Latin or Eastern-Asian cookingTreat them like a bouquet of flowers: trim the ends and place in about an inch of water at room temperature. May also be refrigerated with a bag placed loosely over the top of your bouquet.

Dill 

Strong, sharp and sweet. Use in salads and sauces or when making pickles.Spritz the stems with a fine spay of water and wrap loosely in a plastic bag. Store in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.

Mint 

Light and sweet. Rough chop and use in fruit salads. Also perfect for flavoring tea or other beverages.Trim the ends and place in a glass containing about an inch of water. Cover the glass with a loose-fitting plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.

Parsley 

Slightly peppery and sharp-flavored. It can be used with many foods, often as a garnish or finishing herb.Trim the ends of this long-stemmed herb and stand in a little water.

Oregano 

Strong herb that goes well with Latin and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, especially beans and tomatoes.Wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Rosemary 

Bold, pine-y taste. One of the strongest herbs. Pair it with lemon or add to sweeter dishes for a slighty savory touch.Rinse just before using and wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Keep in a door compartment of your refrigerator.

Sage 

Woody, strongly-scented. Use with your heartier dishes.Store fresh sage in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a loosely closed plastic bag.

Thyme 

Sweet and spicy, slight mint taste. Perfect for salad dressings, in soups or in tea.Rinse just prior to wrapping with plastic wrap to avoid premature molding. You can also add a crumpled paper towel to the bag to wick excess moisture. Store in the warmest part of your refrigerator.

You’ll know it’s time to pitch these fresh herbs when the leaves turn dark or brittle, or if they begin to show signs of mold. You can avoid wasting herbs with a little extra planning before your splurge at the farmer’s market. Only buy what you need, and nothing will go unused!