Sunday, August 22, 2010

Preserving the Details: Herbs for Winter Use

So, by now you have noticed that I am a “detailed” person. Toward the end of July and through August is a great time to preserve herbs for winter use.

Drying Herbs
• Pick and rinse the herbs; pat with a towel to remove excess water. Let them sit on a towel for an hour or so until they are no longer wet.
• Remove the leaves from the stems and place them in either a basket or a brown paper page.
• Fluff them a few times per day until they are dry.
• Store in air tight containers in a dark place.

Freezing Herbs
This is the first year that I tried freezing herbs for use in winter soups, pastas, and rice dishes. I froze mint and chives (separately) in water in ice cube trays. I froze basil in olive oil in ice cube trays.

For an easy way to prep them, I chop them with scissors in a small bowl or glass.

I dehydrate onions and garlic in my electric dehydrator. Place thin slices on the trays. Set the temperature according to the instruction manual. Grind them in a coffee grinder reserved for herb grinding only. You will have garlic powder and onion powder!

Roasting Garlic
Every summer I roast several Michigan garlic cloves for use in soups, pastas, and garlic bread. I have a garlic roaster, but you can also use a covered pan or even aluminum foil.

• Clean off loose skins and trim off the top of the garlic bulbs.
• Lay them flat on the pan and puncture with a fork.
• Drizzle with olive oil.
• Cover and bake at 300 degrees for around two hours. They will be soft and start oozing out of the skins when they are roasted.
• When cooled, squeeze the garlic cloves out and place them on parchment paper on trays.
• Place in freezer until frozen.
• Store in airtight containers in the freezer.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Theresa!
    Thanks for the very useful instructions. A couple comments:
    - would love to hear more about your dehydrator, what kinds you recommend, what else you use it for, etc
    - is there any advantage to freezing herbs instead of drying them?
    - just fyi: I'm adding to my blogroll list on, and MIlocalfoodbeet is now on there :)