Supermarket herbs suck! There, I said it. I am talking about those plastic clamshell casings filled with about an once of “fresh” herbs for $2.99. They are enormously expensive and rarely any good. And don’t get me started on the tiny glass jars of dried herbs, which are (with some exceptions) utterly useless. The fact is fresh herbs are really the only way to go if you want the vibrant taste of the garden in your cooking. Thankfully, being right in the middle of summer, this is an ideal time to be growing and harvesting everything from basil to lovage, and despite what you may think, growing herbs in pots is relatively easy. But sadly, for much of the country, growing year round herbs outdoors proves to be more challenging than not.
That is why, if you are in fact growing your own herbs, that you should be out in the garden right now clipping and preserving as much as nature provides. My stepmother had a pretty ingenious way of keeping herbs fresh in the freezer for months at a time, and below is a video (not by my stepmother) that replicates her technique (although she added a bit of water as not to have the herbs dry out):
If you are not that much of a planner and just want to keep your fresh herbs vital as long as humanly possible, you can do the following: Arrange your herbs in a sort of bouquet and cut a bit off the stems. Make sure the leaves are totally dry and then partially fill a jar with water and put your bouquet (stems down) into the water, being careful that the leaves are not submerged. Most herbs like to be at room temperature, but cilantro does better in the fridge with a loose plastic bag covering. Remember to change the water every few days before it begins to discolor. Follow these directions and you can maintain your herbs for two weeks or more.
Do you have any herb preservation tips? If so, please share.
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