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It's a sad confession for this spice hunter, but I don't cook with many herbs. Fresh ones too often go off before I have the chance to use them up, and most dried herbs never satisfy. The ones that do are culinary underdogs of sorts, oft-overlooked champions of the pantry. And few have as much claim to "overlooked" hyssop, one of my favorite dried herbs. You may have heard of its relative, anise hyssop, which tastes like a cross between mint and anise. It's delicious, but let's let plain-Jane hyssop take the spotlight today.
Hyssop leaves and flowers taste a lot like mint, but with more floral character and a pleasant bitterness. Like lavender, hyssop evokes spring meadows and may turn off cooks by its aromatic resemblance to freshly laundered towels. But it's an herb with a lot to offer: a grown-up mint with intense, complex flavor, and it dries excellently.