Herbs In The Burbs
So you were feeling your inner green thumb a few weeks ago and planted an herb garden with visions of picking fresh fragrant leaves for all that cooking you were planning on doing. How's it going? Is the coriander wilting, the basil overgrown and the chives flowering and you don't know what do with it all? A client found herself in this situation and asked how to preserve them for future use!
Here's a few tips on keeping those herbs handy for months to come!
Question: I've planted a small herb garden, using basil, oregano, marjoram, sage and thyme, and it is now flourishing. Can any of these herbs be frozen or dried for future use?
Answer: Herbs may be used fresh or dried. Many are better fresh, but some, including oregano, marjoram, thyme and bay leaves, flavour food best when dried.
Soft herbs, such as basil, parsley and chervil, can be frozen for up to three months. Wash and dry the herbs well, chop and freeze in small containers or ice-cube trays with a little water.
Once frozen, store the cubes in a resealable bag. Alternatively, you can freeze puréed soft herbs with a little olive oil in small containers.
To dry herbs naturally, hang in small bunches in a well-ventilated spot out of direct sunlight, which may cause the essential oils to evaporate. Drying is complete when the leaves feel brittle. Store in airtight glass jars.
Herbs can also be dried using a microwave oven. Scatter handfuls of cleaned leaves and sprigs evenly on a double layer of paper towel. Microwave on HIGH for about 2 minutes 30 seconds. Woody herbs, such as bay leaves or rosemary, may take longer. After drying, store in an airtight container in a cool dark place.