Preserving Herbs The Easy Way

Ideally you should use fresh herbs for cooking, but you can preserve your herbs and still have good quality herbs for cooking. There are many ways to preserve herbs. Most are variants of either drying or freezing.

Freezing Herbs

Freezing is one of the easiest ways to preserve herbs.

Method 1 - The Cookie Sheet
Spread the herbs loosely onto a cookie sheet. When they are frozen, transfer to plastic bags and seal. Frozen herbs are notsuitable for garnish, but they are great in cooking.

Method 2 - Ice Cubes
Chop the herbs coarsely. Place a generous amount in each ice cube tray. Fill tray with water. When frozen, transfer your herb-cubes to plastic bags and seal.

Drying Herbs

The easiest herbs to dry are sage, thyme, summer savory, dill, and parsley. Basil, tarragon, and mints may mold and discolor if not dried quickly. Make sure there is no moisture present when your store your dried herbs.

Herbs are dry enough to store when they are brittle and they crumble easily. To preserve the herb's full flavor, do not crush them until you are ready to use them.

Method 1 - Hanging Herbs
Hang-drying is the traditional method for preserving herbs. Simply tie the stems into small bundles with string and hang them upside down in a warm, dry, airy place (out of the sun). You want small, loose bundles to allow for good circulation around each bunch. It will take two or three weeks for the herbs to dry.

Method 2 - Screen Drying Herbs
Screen drying is done by spreading the herbs out on screens. Suspend the screens over sawhorses. Turn the leaves often to ensure that they dry evenly.

Method 3 - Oven Drying Herbs
You can use the oven in your kitchen to dry your herbs. Spread the herbs on a cookie sheet and set your oven temperature to 150ยบ. Leave the oven door ajar and heat for about four hours turning leaves occasionally.

Storing Herbs

Store your dried herbs in glass containers. in a cool, dark place.

If you have large batches of herbs, use several small glass containers to store them rather than one large glass container. Small containers retain the herb's flavors much better than large containers.

Preserving Herb Tip-
One teaspoon of dried herbs is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh.

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