Seed & Weed Wednesday – Herb Preservation
Seed and Weed Wednesdays will be filled with practical tips for anything gardening related. We hope it will become an exchange of ideas and shared learning through triumphs and failures. I decided to kick off the Seed and Weed Wednesdays with herb preservation, since we are coming into the end of the outdoor growing season. One of the goals for our garden is to produce enough to harvest and preserve to be enjoyed all winter long. Sadly, we got hit hard with an early frost in our garden this year, leaving us with mostly just herbs to preserve at this time.
Follow along in the video if you are a visual learner, or if you would prefer written instructions, I have laid them out below:
- Harvest the herbs that you would like to preserve. If they have flowered, they are probably not good for preserving – having lost much of their flavor in the flowering.
- Wash them to rinse off any dirt and critters that may have hitched a ride inside. Be sure to dry them off really well
- Decide what method you would like to use for preserving.
- Would you like a supply of dried herbs for seasoning or teas? (dehydrate)
- Would you like them closer to fresh? (freeze)
- Would you prefer them to be pureed with oil for sauteing? (blend and freeze)
If you choose a dehydrate method for herb preservation, you can do it one of two ways: By trying them in bunches and hanging upside down in a dry area OR by placing them on a dehydrator and drying them out. The hanging method will often retain a little more flavor, but I find the difference to be negligible and prefer using the dehydrator. It is less likely to make a mess and it is done very quickly.
I use the NESCO dehydrator that I purchased many years ago. I use it for all kinds of things and have always been very pleased with it – it works just as well as much more expensive brands and has held up through a lot of use. Here is the link if you are looking to purchase one.
Place the more delicate herbs on the bottom tray and the thicker herbs (or hot peppers like we harvested as well) on the top tray. Set the dehydrator temperature to 95 degrees. (you can go up to 125 degrees if it is very humid) Set it to the lowest temperature you can while still drying it to preserve the nutrients and flavor as best as possible.
Once they are dried (about 3 hours). You can remove the leaves from the stems and crush them up into glass jars for storage. If stored in a cool, dry area, these will be good for a year.
This is a pretty straight forward method of herb preservation.
- You simply need to cut your herbs (make sure they are washed and dried thoroughly) into small pieces like you are planning to use them in a recipe.
- Place them in a ziploc freezer bag – squeezing out all the air
- Label with name of herb and date
- Place it in the freezer & it will be ready to use all winter long!
Blended with Oil
For this method of herb preservation, you will simply cut up your herbs, place them in a blender with some olive oil and blend. Easy! I like this method for lemon grass and basil. I also blend up pesto using fresh herbs and freeze it in the same way. A lot of people ask me what I use for a blender. While yes, I would LOVE to have a Vitamix, unfortunately my budget has not yet allowed for that. I have had great luck with the Ninja blender. I like it better than others because it has multiple blades throughout the blender. I always get irritated with other blenders because it will get jammed up at the bottom and not mix at the top. I have to constantly be stopping and scrapping. I don’t have to do that with this blender.
Once it is fully blended to your liking (there really is no wrong way, so don’t stress!) Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer for a few hours. Once it is fully frozen, go ahead and pop them out of the tray and put them in a ziploc bag, labeling it with the contents and the date.
That’s it! Herb preservation is super simple, right? Now you are ready to enjoy all the flavors from the summer all winter long! Or better yet, share your herbs with others. Let us know how you did – what herbs did you preserve? What method did you use? Do you have a different way of doing it? Please share!
With much love and gratitude,
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