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Preserving Your Herbs

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You can enjoy home-grown herbs all the time if you know how to preserve them. Additional great idea is to package them into custom made baggies (ones you make yourself of course) and give them as gift, either individually or as a herb gift basket. People really appreciate receiving gifts that took your efforts and imagination!

Here is a simple guide to Preserving Your Herbs:

Basil:

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The one thing to remember about preserving basil is to make sure that you pick it at its peak – before if flowers and definitely before chilly weather comes in. Don’t rinse it unless absolutely necessary. Good way to preserve basil is to put it into a food processor or blender with a generous pinch of salt, process on pulse, adding just enough olive oil to make a thick puree. Freeze in ice cube trays, wrap each cube in plastic wrap and store in your freezer in airtight container. Add to sauces or make delicious pesto!

Dill and Parsley:

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Dried dill is useful, but dried parsley is pretty much tasteless. Both however retain maximum flavour when frozen. Rinse and dry your fresh herbs in a salad spinner, then chop and pack into airtight jars of ziplock bags. Freeze for use in soups, sauces and cooked foods all year long.

Mint:

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Dried mint often loses most of its taste, so choose only strongly-flavoured mint grown in full sun for drying.

Oregano, Marjoram and Thyme:

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These perennial herbs retain strong flavour when dried. Harvest most of the leafy part of your plants, leaving at least 3 inches of growth. Hang stems in bundles to dry – it’s easy then to remove the leaves. Greek Oregano is always harvested and dried with its flower heads, which have especially intense flavour.

Rosemary:

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Fresh Rosemary is always nicer than dried, so the best way is really just to transfer plants into pots and bring them indoors to a cool, bright windowsill, keep moist, but do not overwater. When snipping off, always leave at least 3 inches of soft stems with green leaf growth.

Sage:

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Prune off long stems and dry. Pick off dried leaves and store whole in an airtight container. Crumble or grind just before use.

Savory:

savory

Savory is good dried, but great when preserved in salt in a jar. Layer leaves with non-iodized salt, coarse pickling or kosher salt. the ratio to use for this preserving method is 1 cup of leaves with 1/4 cup of salt.

Tarragon:

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Tarragon can be dried, but it is the best as a seasoning in vinegar. Simply fill bottle with Tarragon springs, add a pinch of salt and top with white wine vinegar.

Hope you will find this helpful and I will appreciate any additions you may have.

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About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

1 comment
Jeff D Wyatt - June 8, 2009

I hate it when my herbs become dried out and unusable… thanks for the tips Mama Hanna!

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