I know that Herbes de Provence generally contains savory, fennel, basil and thyme. Unfortunately, pre-packaged mixtures in the US usually also contain lavender. I hate lavender, it smells like my grandmother's underwear drawer. I need Herbes de Provence for a recipe I'm making soon, so I'll just make my own sans lavender. So, simple question: Typically is the mixture equal amounts of the other herbs, or should I use more or less of some of the herbs?

  • There is no standard recipe, but you can easily find recipes by googling. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 2 '13 at 2:37
  • I edited the title so it can be answered with a simple "no" instead of being closed as a recipe request. @SAJ14SAJ you can post this as an answer. – rumtscho Dec 2 '13 at 9:12
  • @rumtscho But I still get away with underwear drawer, huh? :) – Jolenealaska Dec 2 '13 at 9:35
  • You are free to have all the associations your neurons see fit to supply you with :) – rumtscho Dec 2 '13 at 12:48
  • @rumtscho : asking about a 'standard ratio' significantly changes the meaning, simply because it can be answered with a yes/no ... It might be better to reword the question to ask about substitutions for it. – Joe Dec 2 '13 at 13:35

Wiki's cited entry on Herbes de Provence is interesting. The ready-made spice blend "Herbes de Provence" did not come into existence until the 1970's, as a product marketed by the French company Ducros. If there's a standard blend ratio, it would therefore be what's in the Ducros' product - though since it is a generic term rather than a trademarked one, other manufacturers and cooks have their own recipes and interpretations.

Ducros' own blend breaks down like this, according to the "My French Cuisine" blog (who also has the McCormick blend breakdown and a home-made alternative blend sourced from a French cookbook):

  • Rosemary (romarin) – 26%
  • Savory (sariette) – 26%
  • Oregano (origan) – 26%
  • Thyme (thym) – 19%
  • Basil (basilic) – 3%
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    Suggesting that the first commercial formulation of past regional practices is somehow cannonical is spurious. It is like saying that the first company to package a curry blend defined what curry is. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 2 '13 at 13:24
  • @SAJ14SAJ - The cited Wiki article (which cited a primary source) says there was no "Herbes de Provence" herb blend as part of traditional Provencal cooking. It's a modern culinary invention. – RI Swamp Yankee Dec 2 '13 at 13:27
  • No, actually it didn't say that. It said that there was no commercial product, not that there were not complex blends of herbs being used in provence. It is very much analogous to the curry case. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 2 '13 at 13:29
  • SAJ14SAJ : no, it's not like curry, it's more like chili powder, where the only place the majority of people get it is from a jar ... yes, there are variatons, but you can give generalized answers of what to use – Joe Dec 2 '13 at 13:31
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    @SAJ14SAJ - And I quote - "..the famous mixtures of herbes de Provence... were unknown to my Provençal grandmothers, who used, individually and with discernment, thyme, rosemary and savory gathered in the countryside." Try again. – RI Swamp Yankee Dec 2 '13 at 13:31

And just what were you doing in your grandmothers underwear drawer??
I love the lavender in herbes de Provence, and I consider a judicious pinch of fennel seed is both authentic and enlivening. But Richard Olney who was highly authorative on Provencal cuisine, like you, hated lavender in the mix, and he also rejected rosemary and sage. His recipe is simply dried thyme, oregano, savory and marjoram, in descending proportions, preferably freshly personally collected, dried, crumbled in a food processor and then seived.

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There is no single standard ratio for herbs de Provence, but you can easily google many recipes for specific interpretations.

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    This is a very unhelpful answer. – RI Swamp Yankee Dec 2 '13 at 13:06
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    @RISwampYankee I disagree entirely; the question was is there standard, and there is not. I googled about 10 variations in seconds when researching this. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 2 '13 at 13:08
  • While I agree that at some point we have to just say "go find a recipe you like", this could be a better answer if you mentioned typical ranges of ratios. – Cascabel Dec 2 '13 at 15:54

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