Herbs not only add a distinct flavor and aroma to the food preparations but they offer various health benefits as well. While it is best to use these tiny little pockets of flavor and aroma in the fresh form, it is not always possible to do so. This means you must try to store and preserve them carefully so that you can use them when it is not convenient to just pluck a few fresh ones from the pot. Here are three very easy and effective ways to preserve herbs for longer shelf life.
We all use plenty of fresh herbs during the summer season but it is during the winters or when the season turns that it becomes rough to cultivate them. Here are 3 easy tips to store the herbs for later use when you cannot snip them right away for consumption.
Air drying. It works well for sturdy herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, and marjoram. It is important that you select the leaves carefully before drying. So, you must shake off the dirt and discard any wilted leaves before drying them. If you choose to wash the herbs gently with water then you must dry them thoroughly so that the mildew growth does not occur. Just secure the stem of herbs together and then hang them upside down in a dry but well ventilated place, away from the sunlight. You can also cover these herb bundles with paper to get rid of the dust and let them dry until leaves begin to crumble. Store in an airtight container thereafter.
Oven drying. It is a faster method to air dry the herbs, particularly for those living in humid conditions. Just spread the herbs on a lined baking sheet and then let them dry at 150 degrees F until the leaves turn crumbly, which may take from 1 to 4 hours.
Freezing. This works best for herbs such as cilantro, basil, tarragon, and parsley. There are two ways to freeze the herbs. In the first method, you can chop the herbs and then place them in an ice cube tray and freeze them after pouring either broth or water in it. In the second method, you can blend the herbs in to a rough paste with a little water or oil. Now, freeze this mixture in an ice cube tray or in an airtight container.