Today I'm sharing some ways I use and preserve herbs. Herbs are one of the easiest things to grow: they're delicious, versatile, and a big money saver. Even if you don't grow herbs but find a big, fresh bunch at the markets, why not try one of these ideas?
|via instagram. bouquet include basil (flowering), leaves from corn, parsley, and marigolds.|
When my garden is particularly abundant, I like to take a bouquet of herbs to my friends. Either tie the bottom with twine or store in a mason jar with water for a fragrant and edible centrepiece.
Place finely chopped herbs into an ice cube tray and cover with water. Freeze and then store in an airtight container or bag. Will last for up to 6 months (my herbs have only lasted 3 months before they were gobbled, so i can't guarantee 6 months!).
using frozen herbs: once defrosted the herbs will be limp, so they are best used in cooking and not as a garnish. I mix the cubes through pasta or lentils, in curry pastes, and flavouring meats and vegetables. A favourite lazy dish of mine is to cook brown rice in a rice cooker, but add a few herb cubes. Once the rice is cooked mix with pine nuts, fresh tomato, rocket, and top with cheese. yum.
Tie the base of a small bouquet of herbs. Don't have too big a bunch as you want air to easily reach all of the herbs. Hang the bouquet upside down inside a brown paper bag or muslin (don't use plastic). Herbs should be ready in 7-10 days.
Space out leaves over a piece of muslin on a roasting rack. Place rack into your oven on the lowest heat, leaving door ajar to let out moisture. Leaves will take around 1 hr, turn them over at about 30 minutes
using dried herbs: crush the brittle leaves into smaller pieces (like the dried herbs you buy!). Store in airtight jar or container. If storing in glass or clear container, keep out of sunlight so herbs don't lose their colour.
|butter with herbs (parsley, sage, chives, basil), garlic, and anchovies|
Mix finely chopped herbs with room temperature butter. Using cling wrap, roll the butter into a sausage and put into the freezer. Can be stored for up to 6 months. Add extras like garlic, anchovies, truffle oil, capers, whole-grain mustard, or lemon
using herbed butter: cut off medallions and put on bread (garlic bread!), mix through pasta, or serve on top of steak or vegetables.
Mix finely chopped herbs with good-quality olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add extras like hard cheese (e.g., parmesan), nuts (such as walnuts or pine nuts), garlic, capers, lemon juice or zest. Will last 5-7 days in the fridge, and 3-4 months if frozen.
using pesto: spread over bread, mix through pasta, rice and lentils, or serve over baked or boiled potatoes.
note: get adventurous with pesto, it's not just for basil! what about sage & walnut? creamy parsley? pistachio pesto?