herbes de provence

October 22nd, 2011 § 11

Over the past two months, we’ve gone through a major kitchen edit. It started off as an inventory of Mason jars to prepare for canning, and ended in a thrilling purge. We threw out bags of ancient herbs, and consolidated Rob’s gazillion salts on a single, organized shelf. Two of the things we discovered in the process were A: we’re out of Dean and Deluca’s Herbes de Provence, and B: our oven has a drying function. So we decided to make our own.


We were disappointed to learn that the concept of an Herbes de Provence mix was fabricated as a marketing ploy, to play on the foodie’s instinctive attraction to all things authentically Mediterranean. But who cares? We’ve gone through exactly three tins of Dean and Deluca’s blend, using it for nothing but scrambled eggs, and  the world’s best roast chicken (see sidebar).


Lavender (top row) and winter savory in flower.

The drying function of our oven uses low heat, the convection fan, and a cork-like stub that keeps the oven door propped open, effectively recreating what we imagine to be an authentic Mediterranean summer breeze, wafting across the fresh herbs. For two days our house was filled with the medicinal vapours of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, savory, basil and lavender. Highly therapeutic.

Rosemary and thyme.

Rosemary and thyme.


The final mix. The herbs retained a surprisingly rich colour.

Herbes de Provence
NOTE: measurements are by volume

4 pts. dried rosemary
3 pts. dried thyme
2 pts. dried savory
2 pts. dried basil
2 pts. dried marjoram
1 pt. dried lavender

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§ 11 Responses to “herbes de provence”

  • Yep, yep, in a frenzy of drying things over here, too. Gorgeous photos!

  • Lorraine says:

    Could I do this in a regular oven, extra low, do you think? Take bunches of herbs, dry them in the oven, and chop them up? Would that work?

  • David says:

    I think you could do this in a regular oven. We used 140 F to do these, and your oven may not go that low, but give it a try at 200, or however low you can go. I’d recommend leaving the door open as you dry them, to help the air circulate. I’ve never tried drying herbs in a regular oven – but what’s the worst that can happen? The smell alone is worth it. We didn’t have to chop the herbs, the leaves crumbled quite easily, or zipped right off the stems between thumb and forefinger. Please let us know how it goes for you!

  • Qué Delish says:

    Love herbs de provence & your photos are breathtaking!
    I enjoy using this herb mix when roasting potatoes and am getting hungry just thinking about your suggestion to use herbs de provence on roasted chicken!

  • Jon says:

    I can imagine how fab this must smell. I wondered if you’ve ever tried using this particular combination fresh rather than dried — crushed with mortar and pestle in those same proportions. Add a little olive oil and would you get a pesto provençal? Tapenade mix waiting for olives? Or does drying perform a kind of necessary alchemy on the flavour combination?

  • Matt Wrench says:

    This looks great. I’ve been wanting to make my own chili powder for a while; now I’ll have to add herbes de provence to that list as well. Perhaps I’m a bad cook, but all my Italian food uses them.

  • David says:

    Jon, dried is really different. You know the roasted walnuts with dried rosemary? I did them once with fresh and it was surprisingly unsuccessful. Too green, not woody enough. Although a fresh mash of this mix with black olive paste, yes, I think, yum. I will try mixing these dried ones into green olives, with some orange zest and fennel seeds, maybe a Cayenne pepper, and see how that sits in the fridge for a while. When are you coming for dinner?

  • Mackenzie says:

    Just found your blog, I have to try your roast chicken recipe. Do you have a good source for lavender in montreal (on the island)?

  • Rob says:

    They have great fresh lavender at the Jean Talon market. Ask them which type is edible. The one we bought is called Provence lavender.

  • David says:

    There’s also a chain in Québec called Bleu Lavande that sells all kinds of lavender products from a local grower. They have a kiosk at The Bay downtown – but I’m not sure if they will have edible lavender. I also once got some lavender at the bulk store Frenco on St-Laurent. The edible kind is ‘lavande’, the inedible kind is ‘lavandin’. This mix is also incredible in scrambled eggs.

  • jodi says:

    Looking forward to trying this. We love our herbes de provence on pizza.