Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Preserving Herbs

It is very convenient to have potted herb plants in my kitchen window. I love to use fresh herbs in many of the dishes I cook. Some recipes call for dried herbs, so I have used Carla Emery's advice from The Encyclopedia of Country Living to dry herbs for future use. 


Cut off the top 6 inches of the plant, or use whole plants, bunch them, tie the bundles with string, and hang them up with the root end upward in a shady, airy place. I plan to hang them from the pot rack over the stove. This will give them ample room to hang without getting in the way of the counter. Allow at least 2 weeks for drying. If you dry your herbs whole like this, crumble them or rub them through a sieve to remove the stems and midribs when you're ready to use them.


To store leaves, seeds, or roots, you can use baby food jars or other empty jars that are airtight to prevent flavor deterioration. The fewer times you open the lid, the better they keep their strength. And try to keep them in a cool, dark, dry place away from heat- not on a shelf over or beside the stove. The cool storage inhibits evaporation of the flavoring oil in the herb, and the darkness protects the color, which fades when exposed to light.


They are at least 3 times as strong as fresh herbs. Figure 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.  

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