Fresh herbs add pizzazz to any meal. You can use your garden-fresh herbs all year with one of these easy techniques.
Freezing preserves essential oils that give herbs their flavor. Freezing herbs is easy.
There's no need to blanch them; just rinse, remove the leaves from the stems and
let them dry on a flat tray. You can put a bunch of these leaves together in a bag to
freeze them. You'll end up with a clump of herbs that you can cut up and add to sauces, soups, ect.
You can also 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 then
freeze in a plastic container, bag or in ice cube trays. You can freeze just one type of
herb, such a basil, or make your own blend, such as oregano, thyme, parsley and sage.
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.
Unless you live in a very arid climate, herbs such as basil or parsley, which have thick
succulent leaves, are better dried in a dehydrator. Once dry store them in an airtight
Whatever method you choose, be sure to harvest herbs after the flower buds appear
but before they open. That way, you'll be sure to get the highest concentration of
essential oils. Early morning is the best time to pick your herbs, after the morning
dew has evaporated but before the sun gets too hot.
By: Kathy LaLiberte