How To De-stem And Chop Herbs

11/04/2011 11:13 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012
  • Kitchen Daily

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to de-stem and chop fragrant herbs like rosemary and thyme.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Eve Felder from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to de-stem rosemary and thyme.

Typically when you have a thick-stemmed herb such as rosemary, you want to hold it from the top, and grab the leaves and gently pull them off the stem. Then at the top, the stem is more tender and we can just break that off. So there's the stem and here are the leaves.

Now we're going to take our pile of rosemary and we're going to pile it up and begin chopping it quite finely. Rosemary goes deliciously with pork. It's an herb from the Mediterranean, so it's delicious with garbanzo beans. One word of caution, though: it is a member of the pine family and it has a very strong aroma, so you want to use it with delicacy - and you want to make sure it is finely chopped, because you don't want to end up with little pieces caught in your teeth. So there you go: there's a nice mince of rosemary.

Now the next thing we're going to do is thyme. Thyme also has a very thick stem, but not as thick as rosemary. It typically grows in bunches like this, so you have one central stem with secondary stems coming off the sides. You're going to take a piece and hold it from the top and gently pull it down. Again: from the top, pull the leaves down and they come off the stem. As we did with the rosemary, you want to chop it. If you want a peasant look, if you want to sprinkle it over the top of pasta or pizza, you can leave it a little bit rough.