Summer is quickly coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to those garden-fresh herbs! There are a few ways to preserve those herbs so you cook with them all year round, despite the colder months and inclement weather. Go ahead and read about three ways you can preserve your herbs!
Option number one for preserving herbs is to dry them out. This method works for most herbs – basil, oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, sage… the list goes on and on. You’ll want to go ahead and trim back your herb plants, gathering all of the remaining leaves. Make sure to leave about a two-inch stem for drying purposes.
Grab a plain old paper bag and stick your herbs inside, leaves down, keeping the stem up at the top of the bag. Fold the corners of the bag around the stems and then secure everything with a binder clip. The bag will stand up on its own, leaving the herbs inside hanging upside down. Place the bag in a cool, dry area, and leave for about two weeks.
After two weeks, your herbs should look like this! You might be surprised at how fragrant and fresh the herbs still smell. Go ahead and grab a little jar with a sealed lid, and place your dried herbs inside. It’s as easy as that!
The second method for preserving herbs is to freeze them. This works great for those herbs that would lose flavor during the drying process like chives, parsley, cilantro, etc. The first step to freezing herbs is to prepare them the way you would use them in a recipe. So, take the leaves off of the stems, or chop up the cilantro, whatever that looks like for you.
Then, put the prepared herbs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to ensure they don’t stick to the pan. Leave them in the freezer for about twenty-four hours, and then transfer them to a ziplock bag, making sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible. Use them as you would fresh herbs, adding them to soups and other dishes as you see fit. They will keep in the freezer for about a month.
Yes, you read that right! This is such a brilliant idea! Having herb butter on hand is such a great and easy way to add a bit of flavor to skillet meals or casseroles you’d stick in the oven. The best part is, you can add multiple herbs, salt, pepper, whatever sounds good and make a combination of sorts that works well for your favorite meals! This method works great for basil, rosemary, tarragon, and other leafy herbs.
First, finely chop your herbs of choice. Then, mix them in with a room temperature stick of butter. Make sure everything is well mixes and evenly distributed. A general rule of thumb is one tablespoon of herbs for every two tablespoons of butter.
Then, place the butter mixture in some wax paper and mold the butter into a log. Wrap up the ends and place the whole thing in a container with a lid, and store in the freezer. This herb butter will last several months in the freezer. What a great way to add some fresh, savory flavor to your meals throughout the winter!