Edibles

Herbs: Tips for Preserving

Herbs: Tips for Preserving

Drying Herbs

Many herbs are easily preserved by drying, and hold their flavor well when dry. Simply cut a handful of stems and rubber band them or tie them together with a piece of string, then hang them upside down in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, with good air circulation. When the herbs are completely dry and crumble easily between your fingers, place them in jars and store them in a cool, dry pantry or herb cabinet. Avoid storing herbs over the stove where heat and moisture will affect them. Some folks like to leave small bundles hanging on pegs in their kitchen where they can just reach up and take a pinch as needed while cooking. However, bundles may get dusty and lose some flavor when hanging in the open air this way for months. Stored, dried herbs naturally begin to lose their unique flavor after about a year. At that time, the herbs may still be useable but larger quantities will be required to flavor dishes. The drying method works best with the following herbs:

basil, catnip, chamomile, dill, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme.

Freezing Herbs

Some herbs taste best fresh or frozen, and are not recommended for drying. If you want to store these varieties for future use, you can freeze them in an ice cube tray with a little water or olive oil. When completely frozen, transfer the cubes to a plastic freezer bag or freezer safe container, then defrost as needed. The freezing method works best with the following herbs:

borage, chervil, chives, cilantro, cress (garden), fennel, garlic chives, parsley, shiso, sorrel. Watercress is an herb that is always best fresh and will not fare well if dried or frozen. Plan to eat it fresh, or store it in the refrigerator for no more than two days before eating.

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