When you think of dream kitchens, do you picture families gathered around the table for home-cooked meals and freshly baked desserts cooling on the kitchen island countertop? With the summer season approaching its end and holiday hosting on the horizon, now is the time to think about preserving your fresh summer herbs for fall and winter cooking and baking. Read on to learn how.
Keeping Herbs Fresh In The Fridge
Keep herbs fresh by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and storing them in a plastic container or re-sealable plastic bag. You can also trim the stems and place your herbs in a glass jar filled with water. Cover the top with a plastic baggie to maintain moisture, and store them in the refrigerator. This method works well for long-stemmed herbs like cilantro, rosemary, thyme, chives, and parsley, but it will not work with basil.
For this tried and true method, tie a handful of herb stems together at the bottom using a bit of string or yarn. Hang these tidy bundles in a warm place inside your home and let them dry for anywhere from a few days to two weeks, depending on humidity and the type of herb you are drying. This method works well for woody herbs like rosemary, oregano and thyme, as well as chives, dill marjoram, tarragon, and sage (a staple in Thanksgiving stuffing recipes). For more tips on air drying herbs from Better Homes and Gardens, click here.
For this simple method, line a large baking tray with freezer paper. Remove the leaves from the stems and neatly arrange the leaves on the baking tray in a single layer. Place the tray of herbs in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the herb. Move your herbs to a re-sealable freezer bag, and store your freeze-dried herbs in the freezer for later use. This method is ideal for basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme, and lemongrass.
Herbs can add unmatched flavor to your fall and winter dishes and desserts. Keep your kitchen pantry cabinet spice rack well stocked by trying one of these simple methods, and join the ranks of dream kitchens filled with food and family.
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