To oven dry fresh herbs
Pull the best leaves from their stems. Wash them, and then dry. Lay one layer of paper towels on a shallow baking sheet. Place the herb leaves on the paper towel in a single layer and avoid overlapping. Cover them with another paper towel and add another layer. Continue to layer your leaves up to 5 layers. Dry them in a very low oven 170-180 F) for 3 to 4 hours. Leave the door open so the oven does not get too hot.
Watch the herbs very carefully and turn them with tongs occasionally. Remove the herbs from the oven as soon as they turn crisp.
Allow the herbs to cool. Then, store your herbs in airtight containers, preferably glass, in a cool dark location. Herbs retain flavor and medicinal value for years. When ready to use, crumble and add to all of your favorite recipes.
Label your containers with the name of the herb and the date you dried them.
To keep fresh herbs
Wash herbs in cool water. Remove dead stems and leaves. Snip ends and Gently pat dry. Place stems in container filled with water, do not submerge the leaves If you change the water daily the herbs will keep for up to a week on the counter.
Cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Change water if it becomes murky.
- Most fresh herbs will last more than a week when stored this way.
- Do not store basil this way. Leave it uncovered and unrefrigerated.
To Freeze Herbs you will need
ice cube trays, freezer labels, freezer marking pen, either strong freezer bags or plastic containers.
Think about how often you may need each herb. It will be 6 months or so before you can cut fresh herbs from the garden again.
Gather your herbs, chop finely and pack into ice cube trays – add a spot of water to cover and put the trays into the freezer..
When your herbs are frozen solid, turn the cubes out and put them into a labeled poly bag or container – labeling is important here – they really all will look the same when you are ready to use them.
Freezing your fresh herbs takes a bit of time, but you’ll be rewarded with the taste of fresh throughout the winter months. My recommendation is to try each method. Dry some, freeze some and when it comes to basil or cilantro make a pesto and then freeze that cilantro pesto can be added to a salsa and of course pesto can be used all winter long. Prepare small portions of a pesto without walnuts or pine nuts, just basil, garlic & olive oil, you may freeze in small portions and add this to soups and stews and sauces all winter long.
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup fresh herbs, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Additional seasonings, optional: minced garlic, spices like cayenne pepper or paprika, finely grated hard cheese or crumbled soft cheese, minced anchovy, minced shallot, etc.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter with the herbs. Stir well to incorporate fully. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the additional seasonings if using.
Use the butter immediately or refrigerate: spread a long sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface. Mound the butter in the middle and form into a log shape. Cover with the plastic wrap while shaping the butter into a tube, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.
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