It is getting to that time of the year again. My vegetable gardening projects are slowing down and I have to start thinking about the first frost. It is also the time to start thinking about preserving herbs that seem to be in abundant supply right now.
I have a huge group of fresh herbs in tubs. I love to cook and the fresh herbs just give so much more flavor to my favorite recipes. Some of them are annuals, which will die when it freezes, and some are perennials which will come back next year. But most will not grow through the cold winter.
So what can I do to make sure that I have the use of the herbs for the next few months? Luckily, there are several options for me to choose from for preserving herbs – drying, freezing, making herb butters and using oil and vinegar to preserve them.
I have not made any herb oil or herb vinegar, since I don’t have much space in my kitchen, but this page from Organic gardening gives tips on how to do it. The main thing I noticed from the page is to make sure the herbs are very dry before attempting to make the oil or vinegar.
Tips for Preserving Herbs.
Drying herbs is easy. It also has the benefit of not depleting the herbs of their natural oils. It works best with herbs that do not have a high moisture content, such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, bay and dill. To dry herbs, do this:
1.Cut them early in the day, remove diseased leaves, and make sure they are dry.
2.Remove the lowest leaves, tie them into a bundle and place them in a paper bag punched with a few holes.
3. Hang the bag upside down in a dry, airy room. Couldn’t be easier! You can also use special racks for drying herbs.
4. Looking for a way to do this with special tools? Try this tiered air dryer from amazon (affiliate link.)
Herbs in the freezer.
Freezing herbs: works with most any kind of herb. Just lay cut herbs on a baking sheet. Freeze them overnight and put into a freezer in a sealed container. They will keep for several months before the start looking “tired.” For longer storage try freezing them in oil or water:
1. Chop them well. You can use single groups of herbs or mixed groups.
2. Place them into silicone ice cube trays.
3. Place extra virgin olive oil in the tray. (you can also use plain water or melted butter) Use 1/4 herb to 3/4 moisture in the tray cell.
4. Cover with plastic and freeze.
5. Remove the frozen cubes and store in small zip lock bags to keep frozen. Be sure to label the bag so you know what it is later.
Making Herb Butters
Herbal Butters: This is sort of like making garlic butter for later use. Just chop up the herbs and mix one part herb with two parts softened butter, shape into a small long and freeze. You can cut the log into pieces to have individual sized portions for later use.
For tips on growing herbs, see these articles:
|Growing Basil||Growing Oregano||Best Herbs for Kitchen Gardens|
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."