The best ways to preserve your herbs
Preserving herbs is easier than you might imagine. Here are 4 easy ways you can preserve them and enjoy them for longer:
One of the most common method for preserving herbs is freezing them. Frozen herbs tend to stay fresh for a whole year. Here’s how you can freeze them:
- Rinse, remove the leaves from the stems and let them dry on a flat tray. Put a bunch of these leaves together in a bag and freeze them. You'll end up with a clump of herbs that you can cut up and add to sauces, soups, etc.
- Or you can freeze the leaves individually first on a flat tray (like a cookie sheet) and then place them in a plastic bag; when you open the bag later, you can pick out as many individual leaves as you like.
- Another great method is to blend the herbs with oil to make a paste, which you can then freeze in a plastic container, bag or in ice cube trays. You can freeze just one kind of herb, such as basil, or make your own blend, such as oregano, thyme, parsley and sage.
Example of herbs that can be frozen on the stems:
- Basil retains flavor, but discolors)
- Lemon balm
- Lemon verbena
- Sweet cicely
- Sweet marjoram
2. Air drying
Some herbs, such as oregano, sage and thyme, can be air-dried. Just hang small bunches in a well-ventilated room, away from light. When leaves are dry, remove them from their stems and store in an airtight jar.
Example of herbs that can be air-dried:
- Scented geraniums
3. Infused herb oil
Herb-flavored oils are very easy to make yourself from the herbs you grow in your Botanium. They are wonderful to cook with, and when decanted into pretty bottles, they're always welcome as gifts.
- Choose a good quality oil for the base, e.g. extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc.
- Use dried herbs to avoid contaminants. If you use fresh herbs, you will need to strain them out of the oil by pouring the oil from the bottle through a strainer or coffee filter, and into a new bottle. Dried herbs can remain in the oil, but the oil will stay fresh a bit longer if they are also strained out.
- Always use clean, sterilized jars that can easily be sealed air tight.
- Add one specific herb or a mix of dried herbs according to your preference. Feel free to use as many as you like. More leaves means more flavour.
- Let it sit for at least one week and strain into a sterilized bottle after the infusion process is done.
4. Oven drying
A kitchen oven is often used for drying herbs. Place the leaves or stems on a cookie sheet and warm them about one to two hours with the oven door open at about 180 °F (82 C). Store in an airtight container. Can be kept for up to a year. Don’t forget to add a label with name and date.