How to preserve herbs

Herbs and spices significantly affect the taste of any dish. They supply the body with chlorophyll, enzymes, minerals and vitamins. In the past, herbs and spices have been used to prevent and treat various diseases and illnesses. Today people are rediscovering their natural strength.

We all love the flavor and aroma of fresh herbs. However, they have a short life after being cut, so if you want them to serve you longer, store them well. Always keep in mind that the stock for winter must be prepared already in the summer.

Herbs generally

  • greatly facilitating and accelerating digestion
  • reduce the formation of toxic substances during digestion, especially when eating meat
  • have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects
  • are basics effect
  • purify blood, detoxify the body

Short-term storage in the fridge

Get herbs out of the packaging and place them in the glass of water and store in the fridge. Change the water daily and check stalks, if necessary, cut them not to begin rotting. Thus your herbs will stay in great fresh condition for about a week.

Drying

Drying is the most common way to preserve herbs. The process of drying must take place in a dry, dark, well-ventilated place, never on the sun. You can dry herbs hanged down in bunches, or separately placed on the netting, paper. If you keep them in a place where the air can´t circulate freely from the bottom, rotate them daily. Properly dried herbs retain color, although not as rich as fresh, but it must not turn yellow or brown. Dried herbs should be rustling between fingers and be brittle. Store dried herbs in a dark glass closed with an airtight seal. Write the name of the herb and the date of drying on the glass. Use these herbs within one year, till the next harvest.

Some herbs concentrate their aroma when drying, for example thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sageOthers aren´t good for drying and their aroma fades, like basil, wild garlic, parsley, coriander, dill, chives. Make your own herb salt of your dried herbs.

Freezing

Freezed herbs retain beautiful color and most of their valuable substances. It is the ideal solution especially for herbs, which are unsuitable for drying. Freeze them in plastic bag or container. Our proven favourite version is freezing herbs in olive oil. Chop the herbs finely, put in a container and pour the oil gradually, gently push the herbs down with a spoon. Whenever you need, scoop some with a spoon. Very practical is to use the ice-shapers. You´ll love it!

Salting

Salting herbs is not quite common in our homes, but you might be surprised by its efficiency. Herbs retain their flavor and color and don´t go off. Beware, they will be pretty salty. Make thin layers of whole leaves of herbs and salt, first and last layers are salt. You can also chop the herbs, mix them with salt, 4 parts of herbs to 1 part of salt and put into glass jars. Store in dark cool place.

Cold syrup

Wash your chosen herbs and dry very well thoroughly. Chop them and fill a jar with approx 1,5cm layers of sugar and herbs. Start with sugar and finish with sugar. Push with a spoon after each layer. Close with an airtight seal. Place the jar in a sunny place for 6 weeks. When the mass drops down, the bottle can be continually replenished. Finally, drain the contents, squeeze it all through a cloth. Pour syrup into small jars or bottles and store in the fridge.

Preserving in oils, vinegars. Scent your oil, vinegar or honey with fresh or dried herbs. In all cases, the herbs must be completely submerged in the liquid. Use a glass bottle with a tightly fitting cap. If you wash the herbs, dry them really thoroughly. Always remove herbs settling at the neck of the bottle. After 14 days at room temperature in oil or vinegar (shake the bottle once a day), you can, but you don´t have to strain it.

If you used whole springs remove them after opening the bottle. If you put herbs into honey, it is recommended to warm it up a bit first and then pour the warm honey on the herbs. You can let the herbs in honey for several months.

Try to put cinnamon, citrus peels and use this oil for desserts and fruit salads. Store flavored vinegars and oils preferably in a transparent glass bottle in a dark closet, cool place. Do not forget to mark each bottle with the name and date of manufacture.

Herbs also can be preserved in wine or brandy. An interesting way is also fermenting herbs. Chop the herbs and stuff into a small jar with a wide neck and add a little juice from sauerkraut or whey. Fullfil with water, so there´s no air between herbs. Fermentation takes about 5 weeks in the basement.