Buying herbs dried and packed is convenient, and sometimes you don’t even have a choice, yet fresh herbs are the real deal. They may cost slightly more in money, time and effort, but the taste and nutritional values are worth it.
Drying is a method of preservation, it makes the herb usable for a longer period, but it does not add to its flavor or nutritional values, quite the contrary – essential oils are lost as the plant dries, and its aroma diminishes considerably. Also, nutritionally, fresh herbs are superior to dried ones, especially when eaten raw, not cooked. And while dried herbs do their job flavoring food (e.g., soups, sauces, stews), they don’t work well in any type of dish – just think of pesto or a salad.
But what I personally love about herbs is that you can grow them yourself, with little to no effort. I started growing herbs last year, and it’s been a rewarding experience. I cannot tell you how many times I ate basil leaves just because I was near the pots and they smelled delicious. You have to try it. You don’t need a garden, just some (preferably nice) pots, potting soil, a few seeds, aaand, voilà, you have fresh herbs, plus a charming kitchen – if that is where you decide to put your low-maintenance pots of green, fragrance and yum.
For maximum health and nutritional benefits, rich flavor, and most pleasing colors in your plate, use fresh herbs as often as you can.