Simple recipes and methods for preserving the bounty of summer herbs.
Few gardening tasks make me happier than gathering enormous bundles of fresh herbs and bringing them into the Simple Bites kitchen.
The bouquets of thyme, lavender, rosemary and other herbs feel like such an abundance of wealth. I keenly feel the responsibility to preserve the bounty for the winter months.
We’ve arrived at that time of year when herbs have taken off and home cooks are wondering what else to do besides pesto and um….more pesto. I’ve responded to enough direct messages over the past few days asking how to use and preserve summer herbs that I figured I may as well write a post on the topic.
My tips on how to use and preserve summer herbs will help you waste less, save more, and eat with flavour.
Recipes that feature lots of herbs
Seemingly over the weekend, my chive plants have grown a foot. The oregano is nearly flowering, and the lavender is reaching its delicate purple blossoms in every direction.
I’m kicking things off with a few recipes, because this is THE season to pile herbs onto anything and everything.
Preserving Herbs (Pesto, Salt, Honey, etc)
Here are a handful of recipes that are specific to preserving ample amounts of fresh herbs in simple and creative ways.
Drying Summer Herbs
Drying herbs is as simple as cutting and bundling the stalks, then hanging them upside down in a dry place.
Small leaves like thyme and rosemary can be left on the stem and removed once dry. If stored in an airtight container, like a small jar, they will keep until the following summer.
Drying is definitely the way to go for your most-used culinary herbs such as thyme, oregano and rosemary.
- Strip the leaves off the lower quarter of stem.
- Gather into a small bouquet, about 4-6 stems.
- Tie bouquets with about 12 inches of kitchen twine.
- Hang in a warm, dry spot that has great airflow (by an open window but out of sunlight).
- Herbs will take anywhere from 24h to 5 days to dry. They are ready when the leaves can crumble between your fingertips.
- To remove leaves, pinch the stem and run your fingers from stem to tip.
- Transfer dried herbs into jars, and store in a cool, dark place.
Alternately, if you own a dehydrator, set it to the lowest setting (no more than 95 degrees), and let it run until the herbs are completely dried.
Chives should be chopped and dried on a tray in a dry place.