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.
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.
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.
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.
I also had some beautiful purple Basil ready to preserve this way. I love the color of purple basil in pastas.
Add enough olive oil to cover the Basil. I’m using a buttery EVOO from the Oilerie.
Filling the ice cube trays is a fun little kitchen task.
Below, Kendall has prepared a tray for the freezer.
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.
This is what the Sage cuttings look like after 4 minutes in the microwave.
The Sage leaves are completely dehydrated and brittle.
I store the flakes in empty spice jars in the cupboard.
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.
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.
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.