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Basil, oregano, thyme -- all are excellent ways to punch up the flavor of a dish without adding extra calories and fat. But what to do when a recipe calls for fresh and all you've got is the dried stuff? You can replace the fresh herbs with the dried ones you have in your pantry using a ratio of 3 to 1: 3 teaspoons of fresh equals 1 teaspoon dried. Or, you can shell out a bit more cash for the fresh stuff -- although, if you're like me, the unused portion will be thrown in the back of the crisper drawer and forgotten about. A better solution: Get a windowsill herb kit. It's perfect for those without a backyard or a green thumb -- most promise to be goof-proof as long as you remember to water. A few great options to check out:
Garden-in-a-Bag: The name says it all. Each bag contains wood chips, soil, and seeds -- choose from dill, cilantro, basil, parsley, and more. Just cut off the top of the leak-proof bag, pour in the soil and seeds, spritz with water and voila: your work is done.
Organic Herb Just One! Herb Kit Singles: If you'd rather plant your herb in an actual pot, check out this kit. Each box contains a completely compostable pot and saucer, soil, and the organic seed of your choice. You can pick from seven different varieties of basil and even grown your own mesclun lettuce.
Culinary Herb Garden Kit: Can't decide which herb you'd like to grow most? This kit doesn't make you choose, offering eight of the most commonly used varieties, including oregano, thyme, and sage, in tiny stainless steel containers. Add soil and water, and then watch your garden grow.
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, May 2009.