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How to Preserve Fresh Herbs | Thymeless Tips

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How to Preserve Fresh Herbs | Thymeless Tips
Photo Kate Monkey/Flickr

Every summer, home gardeners face the same question: how to preserve all the herbs grown in summer? If you are fortunate enough to have this ‘problem’ on your hands, we have simple solutions for how to preserve herbs.

There are basically three ways of preserving herbs: drying, freezing or storing them in oil. The method of preservation depends on the herb at hand and your personal preferences. Feel free to experiment with what works best for you.

Drying
Drying works best on sturdy herbs with a thick stem like mint, sage, rosemary and thyme.  When picking your herbs, cut them in a fashion that leaves a long stem.  Form a bouquet of herbs and rinse them under running water. Then hang to dry in a sunny spot with low humidity. Alternately, loosely wrap your herb bouquet in a kitchen towel and place in a safe spot that receives enough sunlight. When the herbs are dry, pack the leaves into glass jars. You can leave them whole or crush them.

Freezing
This method of preserving herbs works great for soft herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro and tarragon. After picking, rinse and dry your herbs using a paper towel or salad spinner. You can pack the herbs into plastic bags and pop them in the freezer. Alternately, you can puree them with a bit of water or olive oil (I favor this last one) and freeze them in ice cube trays. If freezing for longer than three months, consider blanching the herbs before freezing which lengthens their shelf life. For a nice twist, create a signature blend by pureeing different herbs together then freeze in ice cube trays.

Preserving herbs in oil
This option not only preserves herbs but it yields aromatic oil that is great drizzled over salads or soups.  Select an oil of your liking – olive oil or grape seed oils are great alternatives. Place your chosen herbs inside a bottle and add the oil. Store the container in a cool place to prevent spoilage. This will keep for about six months.

For more tips and food preservation solutions, refer to our guides for preserving summer fruits and vegetables.

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