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Fork Hack: How to Easily Strip Herbs

Fresh herbs make a great addition to your cooking, bringing rich, earthy notes and bold flavors to the table. Among the many varieties of herbs, one commonality is that they typically need to be removed from their stems before being added to a dish. After all, no one wants to take a bite out of a branch — really more of a small twig — if they can help it. That being said, stripping herbs can be a laborious task. If you’re making a particularly herb-heavy pesto for example, you’ll definitely want to find a way to strip herbs as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best advice? Use a fork!

Of the myriad kitchen gadgets being touted as the ultimate answer to every culinary problem, a fork is certainly one of the most practical tools at your disposal. Sitting among the rest of your silverware is a fork which, when used properly, can quickly strip the leaves of herbs away from their woody origins. Regardless of whether you’re stripping a bunch of cilantro, rosemary, thyme, or any other herb, utilizing the space between each tine and carefully running the strip of herbs through it makes the task a breeze.

Why forks work best

forks on a dark background

Unlike the box grater hack or simply stripping herbs through your bare fingers, there are multiple reasons why the use of a fork is ideal. For one, it’s a lot more handy than any other tool in the kitchen and, typically, there are multiple available so if you do have help with cooking, more hands make less work. Further, it’s a much more streamlined method, leaving behind minimal mess. Unlike a box grater, a fork is a lot easier to clean. A fork is also less sharp than the holes of a box grater and, as such, provides less of a safety hazard.

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Because the space between fork tines is open, collecting the stripped leaves and adding them to your cooking can be done in a singular motion, which helps streamline the entire process. This also allows you to use herbs of different sizes and textures by either lifting the fork to strip each sprig through or by laying the herbs on a flat surface like a cutting board and running the fork tines over the herbs as seen in this video example. With this simplified technique, you’ll be forking and stripping fresh herbs in no time.

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