How to Preserve Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are an amazing addition to any meal. You can use them in savory, sweet or mixed dishes, as a garnish and in beverages. Sometimes, you may have a little more herbs than you need or know what to do with. These are my favorite ways to preserve fresh herbs and make the most of them.
1. Keep them in a cup of water to extend their shelf life. You basically trim the blunted stems of the herbs and place them in a cup in the fridge as soon as possible so they stay fresh. I usually try to do this as soon as I get home from the grocery store so they don’t wilt. If you’re pressed for time, keep them refrigerated in their bag or a container so they don’t lose moisture.
2. Make herb cubes or freeze the herbs in oil. Chop up the herbs and place them in an ice tray or container. Cover the herbs with oil, melted butter or water. I’m partial to olive and you can use what works best for you. Be mindful if using the hot water option that your ice tray or container of choice is suitable. I prefer the container method because it is simpler when using oil or butter.
Sweet Alternative: The herb cube method also works well for sweet options. For example, a simple syrup, water & honey or other suitable liquid combination to create your herb cubes. These come in handy when doing drink mixes, syrups, glazes, etc.
3. Make pesto. This is hands down my favorite way to preserve a number of herbs – parsley, basil, cilantro. You can make pesto with just about any herb. Add a touch of olive oil, garlic clove(s), salt, pepper to taste, and nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashew) and an optional helping of a hard cheese.
The proportions you use varies based on the amount of herbs you have on hand and the consistency you like. I start with my dry ingredients and add oil as needed until I have a nice texture. Blend the ingredients in a food processor, blender or with a mortar and pestle. Place the finished pesto in a container and cover the top with a touch of olive oil. Covering the top with oil helps to preserve the flavor and minimize freezer burn. You can store the pesto in the fridge and long term in your freezer. I usually keep my pestos in the freezer and take it out a few minutes before I need it so it is soft enough to scoop out what I need.
4. Dry them. This works great for hardier herbs like rosemary and oregano. I allow them to air dry because they don’t lose much flavor and it’s super easy to shuck the leaves from the stems. Store them in an airtight container and you’re good to go. I tend to keep a dried stash of my home grown herbs on hand so if we experience inclement weather, I have what I need.
Cooking Tip: use fresh herbs like you would any other seasoning. Herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil are so versatile. I love them with seafood, tossed with pasta, grains, on bread, etc. So versatile and so flavorful.
Let me know if you try any of these methods or if you’ve been ahead of the game on making the most of your herbs.
Free Checklist: Herbs are one of the many ingredients you can use to brighten up your food. If you are looking to add more options to your current line up and learn what foods support skin health, download the What to Eat for Radiant Skin Checklist – it’s free and you can keep it handy on your mobile device for your grocery trips, https://senicanaturals.com/skin-food-checklist.
Natural. Beautiful. You.®,
Wellness Coach & Creator of Sénica® Products