Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Preserving Herbs: Drying & Freezing

Last year I managed to dry some thyme successfully and ruin some chives in an attempt to preserve both. This year the results were far more tangible.
back: dried sage, marjoram, & rosemary.
front: ground sage, mint, &  rosemary in jars
Michael Ruhlman's simple tip to place herbs in a wooden bowl and let the air circulate and dry them, naturally works incredibly well. We've got little buckets of sage, marjoram, rosemary (see above photo) along with jars of dried mint, ground sage, rosemary, and a rosemary/marjoram mix. This also works well with thyme and oregano.
Along with drying herbs we even freeze some. Granted herbs taste MUCH better when they are fresh with over 1.5 lbs of chives harvested this year, there is no way we could eat all them as we picked them. Throughout the season as I would cut chives I would freeze them in individual layers on cookie sheets and then put them in a freezer bag. We also freeze dill, a tip from my mother, which is great for soups and hearty potato dishes and freeze easily.

We keep a jar of 'fresh' pesto in a bit of oil in our fridge, but we also have baggies full of both basil and garlic scape pesto cubes that we freeze and use all year round. They are a great attention to fresh and canned tomato sauces!
What other herb preservation methods do you use?? Add them in the comments section, if I get a good list going, I will post it for posterity.


Robin said...

I do a lot of herb preserving around here. Some herbs I hang to dry, some are dried in the oven on very low heat on the convection setting (parsley & basil)and some are frozen. There are a few that I make both, dried and frozen, like rosemary & sage. I also dry paprika & cayenne peppers to grind and make powder. I also try to keep some basil, parsley & cilantro growing in small pots in the kitchen during the winter.

Oh, I also make dried minced garlic every year with the garlic that I have left over from the year before. Preserving your own herbs really saves a lot of $$ and you kinow where they came from!

Fred said...

That is so awesome Robin! Just the small bit of drying and freezing we have been doing has made a noticeable difference! Obviously if I had more space to grow, and more space to store I would do more... I will just have to wait until that day!