Herbs are a simple and flavorful addition to any meal, so why let the cooler fall and winter months stop you from enjoying them? Instead of losing your precious plants to the seasonal chills, preserve your herbs to prolong their ripeness. With just four easy tricks, you’ll be able to savor the flavor throughout the year!
There are multiple ways of doing this, depending on how long you would like your herbs to keep. The first, for a shorter length of time, is to simply place and spread out whole or chopped leaves on a baking sheet and put in the freezer overnight before packing them into individual tupperware containers. The next, for an extended preservation period, involves chopping your herbal leaves into bits and placing them by the tablespoon in empty ice-cube trays. Cover the herbs with a little water, until each cube section is about ¾ of the way full, then freeze. Pop out the herb cubes when necessary for a recipe and watch your meal evolve!
The simplest way of herbal preservation, drying is as easy as placing your favorite herbal varieties on a baking tray and setting out in the sun on a warm, but not scorching, afternoon. When “crusted” to your liking, these herbs can be used as supplements or garnishes to any meal and as additions to any homemade tea.
A more unique way to preserve your herbs that is almost just as easy as the rest is by chopping up one part of your favorite blend and mashing it into two parts of softened butter. Next, form your herb butter into sticks resembling the store bought brands and freeze until needed. When your roasted veggies or fresh rolls need an extra something, just slice off a piece of your frozen treat and heat up for a flavor burst!
The last idea we’ve tried for keeping our herbs fresh all year long is turning them into flavorful oils and vinegars! For flavored oils, add about 2 tablespoons of your your desired combination of dried or fresh herbs to 2 cups of light or organic olive oil. Make sure to store in the refrigerator after mixing to avoid the presence of bacteria within the moisture-filled substances. For vinegars, first wash your chosen herbs and pat them dry. Slide the leaves, whole, into a new or recycled glass bottle. Fill the bottles with room-temperature vinegar and cork. Add about ½ cup of herbs for every 2 cups of vinegar desired. Keep in the bottle for a total of about 4 to 6 weeks, in a cool and dark location. The flavors you will receive will be perfect for any salad dressing, marinade, or sauce!