Using Fesh Herbs and Spices

We have cultivated our own vegie garden to supply these to our store. Curently we are picking Italian Parsley, Basil, Mint and Rocket. Growing is also Oregano, Sage, Corriander, Grape Tomatos, Roma and Italian Tomatos and Fennel, but they are not yet at the stage for harvesting.
Anyone using fresh herbs and spices either on their pizzas or in their sauces?
Any good, bad or indifferent experiences using fesh vs dried?
We really want to make the fresh from our own garden theme one of our selling points against any other outlet, be it chain or indie, so any input welcome.

Dave

Dave;
Once you have used fresh, green leaf herbs, you will never want to use the dried stuff again! It adds a beautiful flavor and aroma to your pizzas, rather than the astringent/pungent aroma from the dried herbs. We have been long time advocates of using fresh basil and occasionally, oregano. Truth is, when using fresh basil, we seldon find it necessary to use the fresh oregano. Your customers will love you for it. The pizzas will have a much better flavor, and you will actually be able to taste the cheese and tomato too as the fresh basil won’t over power the pizza. We have also found that customers say that they don’t suffer heart burn when the fresh basil is used as they do when the dried basil/oregano is used. This is important in view of our aging population, as we really want to keep our customers as they age. As a side note, I’ve noticed that a lot of people end up referring to pizzas made with fresh herbs as “gourmet”, at least that’s their impression, and who are we to argue with them?
Go for it Dave, my hat’s off to you.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom,

When using fresh basil in the sauce do you put the leaves in whole or do you chop them up first; and how much do you use?

Dave;
Never In the sauce. You have two options for adding the fresh basil. One is to lightly oil the dough skin with a garlic infused olive oil, and then sprinkle on a light application of cut (roll a stack of leaves and cut diagionally), then appyy your slices of garden fresh tomato, or tomato filets. Or, don’t use any at all until after baking, then apply several whole or torn leaves to the hot pizza immediately upon removal from the oven ( I like to refer to this as “New York” style). Even when making a pasta sauce, I will cook the sauce first, and then blend in the cut pieces of basil and/or oregano just before adding the sauce to the pasta. By doing this you will retain the greatest flavor and aroma characteristics for the fresh herbs.
One other note: On all of my fresh herb pizzas I like to signature them by putting what I like to call an Italian wedding boquet (this is the top, 4-leaf cluster from each basil stem) right in the middle of the sliced pizza. It adds a tremendous appearance impact, as well as giving a great aroma to the hot pizza, and for those in the know, a wonderful flavor too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor