Herbs are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden. What is lovely about growing herbs is that you don’t need a large garden, herbs can be grown in small pots on your patio or even in small cans on your kitchen counter. Enjoying the bounty of what you have grown throughout the cold winter months is easy with a few simple techniques to preserve them.
Here are some of my favorite ways to store my garden herbs to keep both nutrition and flavor intact:
- By freezing herbs, you are able to preserve the natural essential oils within them which provides each herb their unique flavor. I take a cookie sheet and line it with wax or parchment paper. Lay the herbs out flat and flash freeze them in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. I lay another sheet of paper over top of the frozen herbs and with a rolling pin roll over top to help loosen the leaf from the steam. Simply, remove the stems from the pan and pour the leaves into a mason jar or secure glass container to freeze for 6 months.
- Some herbs freeze well with the stems on so removing them is a personal preference, these include Chervil, Dill, Rosemary, Savory, Thyme, Tarragon, and Marjoram.
- It is best to freeze all herbs individually after flash freezing them with the cookie sheet method. This way you don’t put them all in a bag and freeze them together into a solid clump, which makes it not very user-friendly later on.
- Some herbs dry very well hanging such as Dill, Oregano, Fennel, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Tarragon. Secure about 4-6 bundles together with twine or tie with an elastic band and hang in your kitchen window.
- Thicker leaves such as basil, parsley, and cilantro they take much longer to dry and unless you live in a very arid climate they will need a little help to dry. Place these herbs on a cookie sheet for 1-2 hour at 180 degrees and store in an airtight container.
- You can also use a dehydrator, set between 95F to 115F and dry from about 1-4 hours. Herbs are dry when they crumble easily. I like to place them into a mason jar and keep them in the fridge for when I want to add a pinch of finely dried herbs into sauces or dressings for added flavor.
Storing in Oil:
- Basil and mint loose their color and turn black when you both freeze or dry. By blending it and adding it to oil you can better preserve the color and essential oil of the herb itself. Add a large handful of leaves (ensure stems are removed) to a blender or food processor along with 1/4-1/2 cup of avocado, coconut, or cold-pressed extra-virgin oil and blend until smooth. Fill an ice cube tray with the paste, freeze and then store frozen herb cubes in an air-tight container for up to 6 months. These cubes are easy to pop into soups or stews.
What are your favorite ways to store herbs? I love to hear from you, leave me a comment below.