How to Store Fresh Herbs
So, you’ve grown some gorgeous, aromatic herbs and you’d like to preserve them for future use? Look no further. This guide will show you how to store fresh herbs for year-long use.
Pick & Prepare the Herbs
To store fresh herbs successfully, the first thing you need to do is pick them at the peak of their ripeness. Pick the herbs early in the day while they are at their freshest and start the preservation process immediately. If they are allowed to sit around, they will lose flavor and wilt. Rinse the herbs in cool water and throw out any stems and leaves that are discolored or withered.
Herb Drying Methods
Drying herbs is a simple process and can be done several different ways. Herbs can be air-dried by gathering them in bunches and tying them into bundles around their stems. Hang the bundles upside-down in a warm, airy location away from sunlight. In 1-4 weeks, they will be fully dried and can be stored as they are or in glass jars.
Another way to dry herbs is by using a dehydrator. Arrange single layers of herb leaves on the trays and set the heat to low. In 8-12 hours, they will be dried and crumbly and ready to be stored.
The third option for drying herbs is using an oven. Spread the herbs out in a single layer on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and put them in a preheated 150F oven. Prop the oven door open slightly. Herb types dry at different rates so check on their progress regularly. It will take approximately 1-4 hours for the herbs to be crumbly and dried. Store in tightly sealed glass jars.
Herb Freezing Methods
The simplest method to freeze fresh herbs is to wrap them loosely in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer bag. Another method is to chop them up finely, pack them into ice-cube trays, and cover them with vegetable broth or water. Once the herb ice-cubes are frozen, remove them from the trays and store in a freezer bag. The consistency of herbs changes in the freezing process. They are best used in cooking.
Preserved herbs should be used within a year for best flavor and potency.