How can you preserve herbs, i.e., dill, basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, etc. so that you can use it throughout the winter months.
By Patti from Wilmington, DE
I hardly ever have any that are grown at home. When I have to buy some for use in a recipe, I take the rest, chop up finely, and put into an old ice tray, fill the cubes with water, then freeze. Then pop them out into a freezer bag, and be sure to label with what it is, then use in whatever recipe you need, pop a cube into the sauce.
I forgot to label the last time I did this, so it was fun finding out what the spice was!
We (my family and I back in Ireland) would lay them out to dry, and them store them in airtight containers. If the herbs are already dry then they will keep for a very long time.
I dry mine in a dehydrator & I only paid about $50 for mine. Make sure you buy the solid trays that go on top of perforated trays to dry other items as once they dry, they will fall through the holes if you don't. You can also dry many many other food items. Check it out. It is worth it.
Does anyone know how to save fresh herbs so you can use them again? I am always throwing away wilted basil or rosemary, and know there must be a way I can preserve it. Thanks for any advice!
Julie. (nr London)
I just chop them up and freeze them in little Ziploc type bags in the fridge freezer. I take what I need and then pop them back in the freezer again. The herbs stay fresh that way. I have parsley, summer savory, and basil in my freezer right now from last summer to use yet this winter/spring. (02/15/2005)
I have found that freezing them in an unsealed bag eventually dries them out for you. (02/15/2005)
I've read about keeping the fresh herbs w/stems in a small glass of water in the refrigerator. This extends the time they stay fresh before wilting. If you won't use them that quickly then refer to the posts about freezing. (02/16/2005)
Chop them up and add to ice cube trays. When solid put all the same herb in a mason jar and Food Save. This will last longer than Ziplocs. If you don't have a Food Saver, then just the mason jar will keep them very well in the freezer. (Ziploc bags do eventually let in air and dry out the contents.) Walmart has 4 oz mason jars. These are just right for herbs. (02/16/2005)
Why don't you dry them. You can find easy instructions for drying herbs on the internet or call your local county extension office they will gladly give you the information. It is not hard if you have a dehydrator which can be picked up for about 20.00 dollars at Walmart or if you are a garage saler try to find one at one of these sales or a your local thrift store.
You will find that in the end you will be saving money as you do not throw those herbs away which can be expensive if you are buying and not growing them. You can also build a small rack for your oven and dry them that way also. It is made of 2 by 2s built into a square using L brackets for the corners and you will need to buy some closely woven mesh fabric and staple to frame. These work great and I used only them when I first started drying fresh herbs. Also try and store in dark colored bottles so they don't lose there potency due to sunlight. (02/17/2005)
By Debra in CO
I grow and save herbs to use all winter. My method is with basil and parsley, pick your herbs early in the morning, before the hot sun reaches them. De-stem, soak in a clean sink with cold water for 20 minutes. I then dry in a salad spinner, if you don't have one, lay out towels, and air dry. I then pulse in a food processor with extra virgin olive oil. If you don't have one you can finely chop with a sharp knife. You don't need a lot of oil just enough to keep the blades spinning. I then store in freezer bags (wally world kind). I use the small bags and I put a cup of ground herbs in the bottom of the bag, Then laying flat on table, I push out the air from bag and flatten the herbs to a thin sheet, about 1/4 inch thick. Label bag and freeze. The benefit of this method is that you can break off a frozen piece easily and it defrosts quickly. This method results in high quality herbs. You can also freezer preserve cilantro. (05/31/2007)
I save all types of herbs, dry, and grind the herbs then add them to fine salt and use it in my cooking. Thanks. (09/17/2009)
Sage helps relieve coughs, colds, and rheumatic aches. Drink as a tea and use in cooking. (09/17/2009)