7 Ways to Preserve Your Herb Harvest

If you’re like me, you’ve spent the summer enjoying fresh herbs from your garden. But, did you know that there are many different options for extending the usefulness of your herbs?

Today, Shannon Slatton from my local Channel 12 News, dropped by to explore just how easy it is to preserve herbs and enjoy a significant cost-savings to boot.  



In this post, I share 7 ways to Preserve Your Herb Harvest.  Let’s get to it…

1. Hang them Upside Down to Dry

Drying herbs can be as simple as snipping a few stems, tying them with twine, and hanging them to dry. Btw, kids love to help tying herbs.

The herbs are so fragrant – my kitchen will smell beautiful for days!

Basil, Rosemary, Mint, Sage, Lavender and Thyme (and many more) dry very nicely with this method.

Hanging Herbs to Dry

I have a window pass through in my kitchen. Installing cup hooks in the arch allows me to hang seasonal items for display as well as herbs for drying.

Hang Them Upside Down to Dry Preserving the Herb Harvest

2. Chop them up and Freeze them

Simply storing herbs in a Ziploc bag for freezing is the easiest way to preserve herbs.

And, if you process the herbs before freezing, you can save the need to chop later.  Some folks like to add a little olive oil to the bag. It’s really a matter of preference. One additional benefit, frozen herbs retain their flavor longer than dried herbs.

Below, you can see I froze some extra parsley I had on hand.

Frozen Parsley

3. Chop them up and Freeze them in Ice Cube Trays filled with Olive Oil (or Water)

Freezing herbs in ice cube trays is just a variation on the bag method I just described.

Some people like to preserve the herb in olive oil while others prefer using just water. Either method is effective.

The photo below shows some chopped Genovese Basil.

Genovese Basil Ice Cube Tray

I also had some beautiful purple Basil ready to preserve this way. I love the color of purple basil in pastas.

Red Basil In Ice Cube Tray

 Add enough olive oil to cover the Basil. I’m using a buttery EVOO from the Oilerie.

Ice Cube Tray Herbs Preserving you Herb Harvest

Filling the ice cube trays is a fun little kitchen task.

Below, Kendall has prepared a tray for the freezer.

Kendall Ice Cube Tray Basil

4. Dry them with the Microwave

Drying herbs in the microwave takes about 3-4 minutes.

This method is quick and effective. Microwaving works well for Oregano, Thyme, Tarragon, Marjoram, and Sage.  

Let me demo how I used the microwave to preserve Sage.

Here are some fresh Sage cuttings.

Sage before Microwaving


 This is what the Sage cuttings look like after 4 minutes in the microwave.

Sage before Microwaving

The Sage leaves are completely dehydrated and brittle.

I store the flakes in empty spice jars in the cupboard

Sage before Microwaving

 5. Make Herb Salt

Herb Salt is a fun and unique way to preserve herbs.

To make a Tuscan Herb Salt, finely chop 1 c. Sage, 1 c. Rosemary, 5 Garlic Cloves, and 1 c. Kosher Salt.

I like to process all the ingredients in the food processor. If you use a food processor, add the garlic after the other ingredients are thoroughly mixed together and then process just long enough to incorporate the garlic (note: over-processed garlic tastes bitter).

Tuscan Herb Salt can be used on all of your meats and veggies – even popcorn. It’s a fun Holiday gift as well.

Tuscan Herb Salt

 6.  Make Compound Butter

Compound Butter is a simple, special treat. Simple mix in a chopped herb of your choosing with some butter and Viola! You have Compound Butter.

Below, I made a Rosemary Compound Butter.

Rosemary Compound Butter

You can get very creative with Herbal Compound Butters.  Experiment with Parsley, Chives, Thyme and even Garlic.
Rosemary Compound Butter on Bread

7. Make Pesto

I have such a weakness for good Pesto. In an earlier post, I shared my Glory Pesto recipe; it’s my go-to Pesto for cooking and I’ve turned many dishes into something special with the addition of Glory Pesto. (I call it Glory Pesto because every time I make it, I thank the Good Lord for Glory Pesto!)

So there you have it… 7 Ways to Preserve Your Herb Harvest

I hope you’re inspired by the many ways you can preserve your herb harvest. Indeed, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow in your garden – they’re disease resistant and are bothered by few pests. Factor in their flavors, charm, and aromatherapy uses, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find plants with a higher ROI.

6ftmama with Shannon Slatton Channel 12 Preserving your Herb Harvest

Shannon Slatton, Channe 12 reporter, stops by my kitchen to learn about the cost-savings from preserving your herb harvest. Shannon even brought some herbs from her garden: sage, chives, basil, and parsley.

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. Conniw Poal on September 21, 2013 at 7:34 am

    6 Foot Mama,
    I love your ideas, and I’ve learned so much from you! We didn’t know what to do with all the basil we have in our garden. After reading How to Preserve Your Herb Harvest, I can hardly wait to hang our basil. You are amazing!! You are so bright, creative, and a wonderful inspiration to so many people. Thank you so much!!!

    • Jennifer Ebeling on September 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks Connie!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed it and great to see you stopped by!

  2. Michele Bergh on January 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    This is so helpful. I’m planning on growing some of my own herbs here soon and this will really come in handy. Thank you!

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