If you grow herbs in your garden, then you might want to know how to preserve your herbs for future use. Preserving herbs is a great way to save money. By preserving herbs, you can enjoy the taste of garden fresh herbs all year. Using fresh herb will make your any dish more delicious. Whether you buy herbs from the market or you grow in your garden, don’t throw them out. There are many ways to preserve herbs at home but the following methods will ensure that you have the supply of herbs for various uses year round.
1. Drying fresh herbs
Drying the fresh herbs is the easiest and oldest way of preserving fresh herbs. Dry herbs are easy to use, easy to store and taste delicious in all kind of recipes. There are many ways to dry herbs. One way is to simply hang them in the small bunches near your furnace or wood stove in the basement. You can also crush the dried leaves and put them in the glass jar. You can hang fresh herbs where it gets enough sunlight or you can use microwave too. You can dry fresh herbs by using a food dehydrator. Once your herbs get dried – put it in a jar so you can use them whenever you want.
2. Frozen herbs
Freezing the herbs is a very easy task. Moreover, it doesn’t take too much space in your freezer. You can chop the herbs and put them into an ice cube tray with a little oil. Once the herbs are frozen put them into labeled bag or container. You can use the freezing method for herbs like Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Tarragon, and Oregano. Freezing method works for all kind of leafy herbs. You can even try freezing the hard-leafed herbs like Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme in bags for a few weeks until the leaves easily fall off the stem. Then you can repack the herbs in a jar to store for long-term in the freezer.
3. Herbs frozen in oil
Freezing the herbs in the oil turns out to be the best method. It is the best method to retain the oils in herbs for maximum flavor. You can use olive oil, coconut oil or butter – all work for an oil-based method. For hard herbs – oil base method can be useful. Preserving herbs in butter is a pretty good way. Just follow simple steps given below:
- In a mixer, combine herbs and butter
- Mix them together
- Once it’s blended properly – you can give them the shape of your desire.
- Cover the herbs properly and place it in the freezer.
4. Herbs infused vinegar
The good news about using this method is you will be able to reuse old bottles. But yes, you will need to use cork lids instead of metal bottles. If vinegar is infused with the herbs then your dish will taste delicious. You can use this method for garlic, parsley, oregano, and rosemary. All you have to do is pop your herbs into a jar, cover it with vinegar and keep it for four to six weeks in a cool, dark place. For half a cup of herbs, you will require two cups of vinegar to get the best taste. You should choose good quality vinegar such as apple cider, white vinegar or white wine. If you want strong flavor then you can use more herbs. You can even make delicious vinegar at your home.
5. Herbs infused honey
If you use honey to preserve herbs then you will get healthy benefits of both – honey as well as the herb. Dried and fresh both herbs can be added to honey. It is a very simple method. First, place the herbs in the bottom of the jar and fill the jar almost to the top with honey. Let the herb infuse at least for 5 days. If you want more intense flavor then infuse it for another week or longer period of time. If you are using fresh herbs then make sure that you use quality raw honey. You can use this flavored herb for salad dressings, barbecue sauces or as a sweetener for teas and baked goods.
6. Fresh herb salt
It is an old time method for preservation. Simply layer fresh leaves between salt and leave them until they are desiccated. You can use fresh herbs or you can first dry the herbs before adding them to salt. The combination of fresh herbs and salt will taste delicious. You can use sea salt or kosher salt. But avoid using salt containing iodine. The method is simple. The first thing you need to do is take a glass jar and add a layer of salt to cover the bottom. After that wash and dry the herbs. Now add herb leaves in the glass alternating with the salt until the glass is full of leaves. Now refrigerate it. Moreover, to make herb salt – you can make a puree of your favorite herbs, add garlic if you wish and coarse salt in a food processor until it is well blended.
7. Herbal Extracts
Many of us use vanilla and mint extracts but using homemade herb extracts can make your dish more delicious. You can make extracts by simply soaking the herbs. Making extracts is very easy and good idea for gifting. Just add vodka to your vanilla or mint and keep it for few weeks and your extract is ready.
Herbs make your food delicious for sure but some of the herbs require little maintenance. Preserving herbs means your food is tasty all year. That is why don’t just let your herbs die off, preserve herbs for future use.
How do you preserve fresh herbs to use later? Let us know in the comment box.