Friday, 29 July 2016

Harvesting and Preserving Herbs

Last year I wrote a post on growing herbs and vegetables. They started as tiny plants and over the summer they have grown so big that I was not even able to use them up. So to preserve them for the winter I have been picking small bunches here and there. Some to be dried, other to be frozen.

  • Drying herbs.

Cut some young, healthy twigs. Tie them with a twine and hang to dry in a shaded, drafty place. I make cone-like, loose fitting covers for the herbs, so they so not get dusty. Once dried, you can roll the bunches between palms of your hands to crumble them. Best do it over a clean table or a sheet of parchment paper. Store in airtight canisters. Do not forget to mark them with proper names. Once dried and crushed it is hard to tell basil from oregano. Maybe not so hard but better be safe than sorry, right?

Remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh ones. 

  • Freezing herbs.
Pick healthy, young herbs. Rinse and dry them well. Once completely dry, chop them finely and place in a container or ziplock bag and put in the freezer. Some herbs, like sage, I like to
freeze whole leaves on cookie sheets and then put in a container. They are very fragile so be careful. Sage is wonderful for flavoring the oil or in marinades. 
You can also make sage butter, very helpful when roasting chicken or a Thanksgiving Turkey.

Dill, parsley and mint can be frozen in water in ice cube trays. Fill the cube in half with loosely packed, chopped herbs. Fill with water. Freeze. Pop the cubes into a container or a bag and keep in the freezer. Makes a great addition to sauces, soups and drinks (mint).

I hope that you have found those tips helpful. Let me know.


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