Towards the end of the summer it’s time to harvest the herbs and edible flowers we have been growing all summer. If we’re lucky, there’s enough harvest to not only consume fresh, but also to preserve some for winter. There are two easy ways you can preserve herbs so that they last for a long time and bring up summer memories when you use them in cooking, in tea, or for decorating food!
Drying is one of the oldest ways of preserving herbs. Dried herbs also stay good for a very long time, even years. Drying is suitable for many herbs that can then be used in cooking. Also, herbs for teas, like mint and sage, will taste great as dried.
You can use a drying rack or drying clamp to air dry the herbs. Simply tie together the herbs with a rope and attach the bundles to the drying rack or clamp. This method takes some time, depending on the herb, from a few days to a few weeks. You know your herbs are ready when they’re dry enough to crumble. Then, they’re ready to be stored in a container or a jar!
If you want to speed up the drying process, you can dry the herbs in the oven in a low heat for a few hours, again, until they’re crumbling. Make sure the temperature is low enough, and you stir the herbs from time to time so they dry evenly.
Freezing the herbs will preserve some of the freshness of the herb. You can simply place the herbs into a freezer bag. However, to avoid them sticking together you can first freeze them on a parchment paper in a single layer, and only after that put them all in one bag. This will make it easier to ration the herbs.
Another way to freeze herbs, and to have them perfectly rationed, is to chop them fine with herb scissors and put them in an ice cube tray with water, or alternatively with oil or butter. Once frozen, the herb ice cubes can be transferred into freeze bags. You can also mix your favourite herb combinations together!
Tip! Make sure to preserve your store bought herbs, too!
Even if your herbs are not self grown, you can preserve them! Take the leftovers of your bought herbs and dry or freeze them before they spoil. This way, there’s no food waste and you’ll get to use all of the herbs you bought!