For cooking purposes, herbs should be finely chopped. I like to use a large cleaver on a thick wooden board, but other people swear by a ‘mezzaluna’, a two-handled semi-circular blade. However, an ordinary sharp knife will do the job perfectly well if held in both hands. Hold the handle firmly in place while moving the blade up and down in short, chopping gestures. If fresh herbs are to give out their most fragrant flavours, the finer they are chopped, the better.
If you have a glut of fresh herbs, it is worth drying them for future use. Tie them in bunches and hang them upside down somewhere cool and fairly dark for 3-4 weeks. Then crumble the seed pods or leaves over paper before packing them into airtight containers. Recently dried herbs are more pungent than fresh, so only use them in small pinches. If more than six months old they are less pungent than fresh.