Home > Preserve & Pickle > Drying and Preserving Fresh Herbs

Drying and Preserving Fresh Herbs

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 3 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Preserving Drying Herbs Fresh Lasting

Preserving your own herbs couldn’t be easier. Choose from freezing, drying or preserving, and enjoy their fresh flavours for longer. Here’s our guide to keeping herbs for use all year round.

Drying Herbs

We have covered drying herbs in some depth in our article about drying (see left). Woody herbs like rosemary, thyme and marjoram are suitable for this treatment – keep them in a cool, dark cupboard and you can enjoy them for a longer season.

Preserving Herbs

Preserve your herbs in oil, vinegar, chutney or jam – they make fragrant, welcome gifts for friends and family. Try making rosemary or mint jelly to accompany meat dishes: use a basic apple jelly recipe (check out Marguerite Paten’s ‘Basic Basics’ book from Grub Street) and incorporate a handful of chopped herbs after straining the fruit (for this you will need a jelly bag made from muslin). Another lovely idea is to incorporate your herbs in fruit jams. Try making a rose petal and lavender jelly, or use basil to introduce a delicate floral note to a raspberry or gooseberry jam.

Freezing Fresh Herbs

You can put picked herbs straight into the freezer – the faster you do it, the better, as flavour and scent begin to disappear within hours of picking. Put sprigs into bags, seal, and freeze – or chop and cover with water in an ice-cube tray. These frozen herbs can be used in your cooking – add them at the end of a recipe to avoid overcooking the herbs. You can also float cubes of the more delicate herbs (mint, lavender, rosemary) in homemade lemonade or cocktails!

Making Herb Oils, Schnapps and Vinegars

- Herb oils are a fantastic way to preserve the fresh herb flavours to use in your cooking. Just gently wash dry the herb of your choice, and put a generous amount into a small saucepan. Cover it with olive oil, and gently warm it to blood temperature. Switch off the heat and leave the oil to infuse with the herbs (and garlic is a nice addition for rosemary and chive oils). After half an hour, strain it into a sterilised bottle or jug (for immediate use). Rosemary oil is wonderful drizzled over unbaked focaccia and basil oil is a fantastic drizzle for tomato soup.

- Turn your herb garden into a cocktail party... by making your own inventively-flavoured schnapps! Read our article about making your own fruit schnapps, and you can apply the same knowledge to herbs. Try lemon balm vodka, basil gin, or rhubarb and lavender schnapps. Be aware that some herbs – especially lavender – can impart a very strong flavour, and will need to be removed quite soon after infusion. Test after a week or less.

- Herb vinegar makes a good basis for interesting salad dressings. To make it, bring white wine vinegar to just below boiling point, and pour it over sprigs of herb (such as thyme) that you’ve put into a sterilised jar. Seal and keep for at least two weeks before opening and straining into a new, sterilised bottle. Lemon peel, raspberries, rosemary and sage make interesting additions to your vinegars.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Milly
    Re: How to Store and Cook Leftover Vegetables
    Have cooked chopped butternut squash. onions, peppers ,mushrooms and sweet potato. Can I freeze what I dont use?
    24 September 2020
  • Ell_Cee
    Re: Defrosting Food Safely
    I froze chicken before the use by date. Yesterday I defrosted it & left it in the fridge 24hrs, the use by date is past (7th July, it is…
    12 July 2020
  • Suzette
    Re: Dry and Store Tomatoes and Fruit
    Hi, I’m new to growing and saving fruit and vegetables. Thank you for the tips/advice on your site. What’s the best way to…
    1 July 2020
  • Lou
    Re: How to Freeze Cakes and Baked Goods
    Hi I'm really stuck got loads of fresh strawberries x I want to make strawberry sponges x and strawberry muffins can I…
    9 June 2020
  • Kell
    Re: Defrosting Food Safely
    I put chicken breasts in fridge to defrost last night but when I checked this morning I hadn't them fully covered? Can I still use them
    1 April 2020
  • Pat
    Re: How to Freeze Cakes and Baked Goods
    Can home made treacle cakes be frozen. If yes, for how long?
    24 March 2020
  • Di.
    Re: How to Store and Cook Leftover Vegetables
    I juice veggies, How long can you refrigerate or freeze vegetable pulp ??
    4 March 2020
  • Sandwiches71
    Re: How to Pickle Onions
    I’ve dry brined the onions for 16hrs, rinsed well and left to dry. The onions are soft, should I bin and start again? Thanks
    27 November 2019
  • Denise
    Re: Recipes for Cakes to Freeze
    I am interested to know whether I can freeze a strawberry cake with fresh whipped cream in a crystal dish for two weeks
    6 October 2019
  • Marla
    Re: How to Freeze Dairy Products
    I love your ice cream as we just moved to Fountain Hills from Anacortes WA area. I also love the San Juan Friday Harbor ice cream…
    27 September 2019