As much as I love to grow fruits and vegetables, it’s my herb patch in my garden that is my very favorite. Just having these fresh herbs within steps of my kitchen makes me feel so gourmet, and I always have a vase of fresh herbs on my prep table. There are so many ways to use and preserve herbs and I’m sharing 6 of my best tips for using and preserving fresh herbs. Happy Quick Tip Friday!
Herbs are so easy to grow, and really, you don’t need to have garden to grow them. They’re perfectly happy in pots as well, hanging out on a porch or placed around your yard. Herbs do require a lot of sunlight. Full sun all day is the best, but as long as they receive at least 6 full sun hours, you’re fine. They’re hearty plants, and most keep growing until the first frost, letting you cut from them for months. With herbs, you put in a little work, and get a huge return. Plus, they’re pretty.
Make an arrangement with herbs in a vase or a glass jar and keep on the kitchen counter or table. I always have an arrangement of herbs on my prep table in my kitchen during the summer months. Changing out the water every day is key, and it’s always fun to clip from the arrangement when cooking.
To store the herbs in the refrigerator, rinse them in cool water, and pat dry. Wrap them in paper toweling and store them in an air tight container in your fridge. Fresh herbs will last about a week this way, some more hearty ones like thyme and rosemary will keep a little longer.
Do not store basil in the refrigerator. Cardinal rule. The cold of the fridge turns basil leaves brown. When cut, basil doesn’t last long anyway; maybe a day or two and then the leaves are wilted. It’s best to use the basil the same day you bring it inside.
Freezing fresh herbs is the gift that keeps on giving, and so easy to do. This is one of my favorite tips to share! Here’s how: on a parchment lined baking sheet, place herbs in single layer. Put sheet in the freezer for about an hour, then put the frozen herbs in a sealed bag, label it and place back in the freezer. Every time a recipe requires fresh herbs, pull out what you need and go from there. Now, I must say, once herbs are frozen they’re not good to use as a garnish, but freezing them does not rob them of their fresh flavor.
Dry fresh herbs; another easy process. Preheat oven to 200º. Place fresh herbs on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put the herbs in the oven, keeping the oven door cracked open and bake for 2-3 hours. Check at 2 hours to see if leaves crumble easily. If not, keep drying in the oven, checking every 10-15 minutes. Crumble herbs and store in glass jars for up to a year.
Fresh herb cocktail, yes please! I’ve saved my favorite tip for last and that is to mix a cocktail using fresh herbs! Herbs and libations are darn near best friends. The combinations are endless, and the end result is always great. I’ve created a delicious cocktail called The 1820. I love the combination of lemon and rosemary with a little sparkle added in and this cocktail is all of that. I used homemade limoncello, but a good store bought one works fine too. The sprig of rosemary makes for a perfect stirrer, and with every sip you get the delicious aroma of the rosemary and the taste of lemon. Perfect-O. The 1820 recipe found here.