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Preserving Fresh Garden Herbs

Preserving fresh garden herbs starts right about…now! It’s time to start preserving some of those fresh herbs from your garden to make the most of your summer herb crop. Learning how to dry or freeze summer herbs for winter cooking means making the most of your garden herbs. You can also save money at the supermarket, too. Done correctly, preserved garden herbs can last for years.

Washing herbs

Preserving Fresh Garden Herbs: Time it right

If you’re drying herbs for winter cooking, pick the right time to do so. You’ll need to harvest the herbs before the weather turns cold. This means harvesting herbs during the autumn. Harvesting herbs after the first frost is often too late because more delicate plants may not survive the winter.

Wash and dry Herbs

Remove any leaves with bugs or dirt. Then cut off the stems at the base of the plant. Give them a rinse under the tap and dry them with some kitchen paper.

Freezing herbs

Method One: Freeze herbs for flavour and long life

Preserving fresh garden herbs is easy. You can even freeze most herbs. Chop up your herbs finely and add to ice cube trays. Then simply fill your ice cube trays with water and freeze. If you don’t want to use ice cube trays, small plastic bags with olive oil works just as well. Make sure to label them to be able to quickly identify the correct herb for your dish.

Hanging herbs

Method Two: Hang Dry your Herbs

Hang drying is probably the easiest way to preserve your garden herbs. Gather stems into small, loose bunches. Tie the ends together with string and hang them upside down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place. Try to keep them out of direct sunlight. They should be fully dry in 3-4 days.

Jar of Mixed Herbs

Storing dried Herbs

If you have chosen to hang dry your herbs, the next step is to store them correctly in order to preserve them for the longest possible time. A jar with a tight lid is best. Store your herbs upright and away from direct sunlight.

Block of butter with herbs

Ways to Use your Preserved Herbs

Once you are finished preserving fresh garden herbs you are then able to use them in a variety of ways. You can use so many herbs in sauces, butters, purees and chutneys, including the ever-popular Pesto. You can use any herb in a butter as well. Just mix one block of butter with your finely chopped herbs, add some lemon juice and salt and pepper, and store in the fridge or freezer.

Cocktails with sprigs of herbs

Something to drink?

You can add many herbs such as mint to water to add flavour and encourage you to drink more. Alternatively, why not use some sprigs to both flavour and decorate a cocktail?

Are you preserving your fresh garden herbs this year? Come and share your experience on our Facebook page.

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