Having fresh herbs handy for your meals and drinks can be very helpful and convenient. Buying them from stores can become pretty pricy after a while. Grow your own herbs at home and learn how to store and dry herbs for future use. This will save you money and time.
Pick your herbs
Herbs are special and different with their own smells and luscious oils, so depending on what herb you would like to save will reveal the best way to preserve it. Herbs with high moisture content should be frozen and not dried for a better preservation. Basil, cilantro, parsley, and chives will taste much better if frozen. Mint, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, dill, and bay leaves taste wonderful when air dried. So decide what herb you will be saving and proceed with its specific preservation.
Drying your herbs
This is much like drying roses to me, and pretty simple. Make sure that your herbs are dry with no moisture in sight before you try to dry them. Cut them at the stem and remove any leaves that look brown and shriveled. You only want the fresh green leaves to be dried. Bundle a few stems together and tie them with string. You may tie them towards the end of the cut stem and it will be easier when you hang them upside down.
Find a cool dark place to hang your bundles upside down. You can also try placing them upside down in a paper bag and hang the bag up. Check on the herbs in a few weeks and when they can crumble in your hands, they are ready to be stored. Place them in a glass jar or a Ziploc bag and store them in a cool dark place. They can be used up to a year. Do not crush them until you are ready to use them. They will keep their flavor better if kept whole.
Freeze your herbs
Cut the herbs as stated earlier and wash them if you need to. Dry them and place them on a cookie sheet. Place them in the freezer and remove them after they are frozen. Store them in a freezer bag or airtight container and place them back in the freezer for later use. You can also try grinding your fresh herbs and adding some olive oil to the mixture. Place the mixture in ice trays and freeze for later use.
This is one alternative to drying, but you can also use a dehydrator to dry your herbs if you have one handy.
This is one tool that you can use for a lifetime. Pass it on to the next generation and keep a fresh supply of herbs in stock every year. Use them in your soups, drinks, and dishes and enjoy the flavors.
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