Having a fresh herb garden is such a great thing. Using fresh herbs in your cooking is a great way to add amazing flavors to your dishes. But you can easily get spoiled by having fresh herbs to use every day. So what happens during the winter when most herbs die for the season? This article has some ideas on how to store herbs so that you can use them all year long.
Grow them indoors
There are many ways of keeping your fresh herb garden all year round. The most expensive way is to bring your plants into the house and continue their care through grow lamps or fluorescent lamps. You can store the plants in the kitchen as this room of the house tends to stay warmer than most, and this will be good for your plants. Several herb plants do really well indoors and so you don’t have to sacrifice these herbs during the winter months at all. The cheaper and more practical way is to store them.
Fresh herbs can be dried and stored in air tight containers. You can begin drying your fresh herbs towards the end of the summer or in early signs of autumn.
Make sure your herbs have been patted dry before you dry them. You can do the drying out in the sun or in the oven. You will need to use the dried herbs in varying amounts when cooking. The measurements will all depend on the herb, but the flavor will be there. Before using them in your cooking, you can soak your dried herb leaves or stalks in some water for about half an hour to rejuvenate them a little. This can help bring back some extra flavor since herbs tend to lose a bit of their flavor when dried. Other times the flavor changes slightly, but you can always tell that it’s the same herb.
If you’d like to store your herbs fresh and have them last through the winter, you can put the leaves and stalks in air tight containers and freeze them. Before doing this, pat down the leaves with a paper towel. You don’t want to risk the leave getting moldy. You can store the leaves in small zip lock bags so that you don’t have to keep defrosting a big bag of leaves every time you need that particular herb. Remember that freezing herbs will make it lose some of its properties, but it’s quite good when used in the right quantities.
Store them in the Freidge
For short-term storage, you can do the same paper towel method you did with the frozen leaves. Pat down the leaves with paper towels then wrap the moist leaves with more towels before placing the wrapped leaves in an open plastic bag in the fridge.
You can spritz water on the leaves every few days, and the herbs will stay pretty fresh and tasty, just be sure that you don’t store those leaves with wet paper towels as this may lead to mold forming.
Finally, you can keep fresh herbs in water in the refrigerator. Cut the bottoms off the stems and place them in a jar of water, covering this with a plastic bag, but leaving the bottom of the bag open. This will keep for up to two weeks. That’s not the whole winter but it will taste just as good as if you’ve picked them that very day.