We don’t have a garden, per se, however, we do grow herbs in a couple of pots on a deck off our kitchen. We fill up a big pot with the herbs that we like to use all summer. This year we planted parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano and chives in a bigger pot. Some years we have also included sage, but this year, I couldn’t seem to find any at the garden centre.
In a smaller pot, we planted some basil. It has been my experience, that basil doesn’t like as much water as my other herbs, so I keep it in a separate pot. I never had any luck with basil until I separated it from the others and watered it less often.
If you don’t have a garden of any type but would still like to preserve some fresh herbs, check out a Farmer’s Market. They are bursting with tasty fresh herbs this time of the year, so it is a perfect time to not only to enjoy them fresh but also to try preserving them for later use.
Preserving Your Herbs
I used two methods to preserve this years little crop. The parsley, basil and oregano I froze and the rosemary and thyme I decided to dry. (We used just about all the chives, so there wasn’t enough to keep. On another “chives” note, I cut them back a couple of times a year and within a week or so we have a fresh batch to enjoy!)
After a bit of research, I decided to use this method for the parsley, basil, and oregano. I debated drying the oregano, like I often do, but opted to experiment and try the freezer method.
The first thing I did was to strip the leaves from the plants. I kept each herb in its own little pile. Then, working in batches, whiz them up in the food processor adding a small stream of olive oil as the herbs process. Don’t drown them, just put in enough oil to make the herbs slick and shiny. I didn’t chop them extremely fine, I wanted to be able to see bits of the herb.
Spoon processed herbs into a freezer bag. Use the back of a butter knife or a spoon on the outside of the bag to smooth and flatten out the mixture and expel any trapped air. Label and freeze. When you want to use the herb, just break off a piece and add it to your soups, stews or sauces.
NOTE – I debated freezing the mixtures in ice-cube trays. I decided against this method because I felt I had more control over the amount of herb used when they were frozen flat. I could easily break off a small or large piece, whatever I needed.
Most people hang the herbs in a cool dry place to dry. I put the herbs on a tea towel lined tray, cover with another tea towel, put them on the top shelf in our storage room and forget about them for a few weeks. Then around Christmas time, I take them down, strip the now dried leaves and store in jars.
Do you grow herbs?
What do you like to grow?
How do you preserve them?