Tuesday, July 23

Home-Grown Herb Preservation

We grow tons of fresh herbs in summer, but sometimes we find that we've ended up with far more than we can use!  Bartering for eggs or milk is our first choice, but when that's no longer an option, we aim for preserving the fresh herbs for later.

Storing Fresh Herbs
  • Rinse the dirt and and debris from the herbs after cutting
  • Wrap stems in a moist paper towel and put into a plastic bag with small holes in it
  • Keep in the refrigerator for no longer than a week

Four Preservation Methods
  • Freezing 
    • Y'all know we love our freezer to bits (check out our freezer cooking recipes, if you're new here)...and did you know that you can freeze herbs, too?  Leafy herbs (think : basil, parsley, cilantro) are the best ones to freeze.  After washing, chop them up and pack them into an ice tray.  Cover each "cube" with broth or olive oil.  Once frozen, you can pop them out and store them all in a bag.  They'll keep for up to three months.
  • Oven Drying
    • This is the fastest drying method that we have tried (see below), and is perfect for humid environments.  After washing, spread herbs on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Put into an oven at 150° F with the door slightly ajar.  Check frequently and take them out when they get crunchy and crumbly - takes 1-4 hours.  Store in an airtight jar for up to a year.
  • Microwave Drying
    • So...this is supposed to be an even fresher option than oven drying, and we've heard good things about it, but have never actually tried this method.  Here is a great tutorial from Serious Eats about drying herbs in the microwave : Microwave Drying
  • Air Drying
    • After washing, dry thoroughly (prevents mildewing) and tie the stems together.  Hang upside-down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place out of the sunlight.  If dust or sunlight is a concern, cover with brown paper sack.  Make sure air is circulating - takes 1-4 weeks to dry.  Store in an airtight jar for up to a year.

Learn more about herbs in Simple Kitchen Fixes.

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