Storing and preserving herbs

Storing and preserving herbs

You don't always need fresh herbs. And sometimes you want to preserve them to have them on hand whenever you need them. Here are some tips.
Storing herbs for a few days
Fresh herbs taste best, no doubt about it! If that's not possible, wash them, pat them dry and wrap them in a plastic bag or place on a piece of damp kitchen paper inside a plastic container that you should put in the vegetable compartment. You can store delicate herbs such as chervil, mint, dill, chives, lemon balm and lovage like this for up to five days, hardier herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme will last for up to ten days.

Tip: don't put your herbs in water after buying. If you do, they will tend to lose their nutrients more quickly and wilt because their metabolic processes continue to run. If you need to store herbs for longer periods, you can dry them, freeze them or put them in oil.
Drying herbs
If you would always like to have some fresh herbs on stock, you can dry them.

To dry your herbs, tie them in small bundles and hang them up somewhere shady and well aired, with as little dust as possible. The room temperature should be between 20 and 30 degrees.
The faster the plants dry, the better. The optimal drying time is between 24 and 48 hours.

When thoroughly dry, transfer them to airtight glass jars. Suitable for drying are dill, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives and thyme.
Freezing herbs
Fresh herbs can also be frozen. Wash your herbs, pat dry, chop and fill an ice cube tray with them. Add a little water and place in your freezer compartment. Now you have a stock of portion-size herb cubes, ready to add to your cooking from frozen as you need. Herbs such as dill, tarragon, oregano, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, sage, chives and thyme can be frozen.

Alternative: you can also use butter instead of water for the herb cubes.
Placing herbs in oil
Finally, you can wash, dry and finely chop your favorite herbs and store inside small screw-top glass jars, mixed or separately. Add enough cooking oil to cover the herbs by about 2 cm. A few weeks later you will have an excellent herb oil.

A cold-pressed olive oil, a rapeseed or sunflower oil are suitable as a base oil.  

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