Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Idea: How to preserve fresh herbs from your garden to use all Winter long.

September is the time to start gathering your herbs from your garden.  You want to gather as much as you can before the chilly nights and your plants frost.  I pulled my herb plants (parsley, basil, oregano, mint, and cilantro) from the roots.  If you told me 8 years ago that I'd spend a day preserving herbs, I'd say no way.  I'm officially old!!

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How to preserve fresh herbs from your garden.

Tip:  If you're looking for the best basil to grow and cook with, then I got you!  The best basil to use is Large Leaf Sweet Italian Basil.  In my opinion, this is the best tasting basil and grows easily with very little maintenance.

Step One:  Clean

The first step to preserving your fresh herbs is to clean them.  ...every single leaf...

Step Two:  Dry

The second step is lay out each leaf on a clean paper towel so that they can dry completely.

Step Three:  Preserve

The next step is preserving your fresh herbs is very important.  You'll need to determine which method of preservation is best for the specific herb.  Depending on the herb, I preserve them by either drying them or freezing them.  I dry all of the oregano and half of the parsley.  I freeze all the basil, half the parsley, and all the cilantro.  Then work on actually preserving them so that you can have fresh garden herbs throughout the Winter.  

To preserve the herbs by drying, wash them on the stems and then hang them upside down to dry in the sun.  After 7 - 10 days, they should be fully dry and crisp.  To remove the herb from the stem, you should take two fingers and slide down the stem.  All of the leaves will fall off perfectly and can be stored in a plastic container or bag for future use.

Tip:  Hang them to dry inside your home but next to a window.  I use dental floss to bunch the stems and hang them.  

Tip:  To have those herbs for almost forever, invest in this ridiculously inexpensive portable vacuum seal for herbs.  I love these because they make my cabinet look pretty and come in so many different designs and sizes.

To preserve the herbs by freezing, remove the leaves from the stems before washing.  Pat the leaves to dry them and don't let them sit too long otherwise they will wilt.  After they are completely dry, lay the leaves out flat and freeze in portions.  Remember, once frozen, they are very difficult to separate without fully defrosting.  I always make sure to date and label the bags because some herbs last longer like mint and cilantro.

Tip:  Throughout the season, trim from the top of the herb plants so that they don't seed.  Because I do this, I'm constantly preserving my herbs.  To keep myself organized, I date each bag of herbs so I use the oldest ones first.

How do you preserve fresh herbs?


  1. I've always enjoyed the smell of basil.

    1. I love basil! I put it in so many dishes and then people ask how I make it so flavorful. It’s just the basil. ;)

  2. Ewwww on cilantro! When they asked Julia Child what is the best way to use cilantro, she said, you take it, you wash it, you put it on the floor and step on it :)
    I only freeze celery leaves as I cannot live without them, I just wash them, cut them finely, and put them in the plastic container and up in the freezer they go to be used throughout the winter for soups and everything else. I will prepare my winter supplies of it in November before it disappears, but it can be grown throughout the winter if you have a light basement, just put the pots down there near a window.

    1. Lol agreed- I hate cilantro and the stench is leaves on your fingers after touching it is even worse. I’ve never used celery leaves, but now I must try it to add to my soups. My favorite is minestrone soup in the winter. I could probably throw some in there to add to the flavor. Thanks!!

    2. Probably because you mostly have the stick celery type, ours is like parsley, round white root and then a bunch of leaves on it, I use the root for pures and leaves for all savoury dishes, it has an extremely appetizing fragrance, especially in garlicky and tomato dishes.

    3. Yes! I've never seen the leafy type. To be honest, I don't like the celery stick. If I see a cut piece of celery stick floating in my soup, I scoop it out. But I can see the leaf creating flavor without the crunchy, veiny vegetable being present.

  3. Geez, so this is what happens when you hit 30? Are you going to take up knitting at 40? lol

    Having some stored away sure is a win. I had no idea how to do it, got me beat.

    1. LOL No, no knitting for me. Maybe puzzles!! Go ahead and make some fun, but my cooking is so fabulous thanks to that fresh, garden basil. :) The cat may even eat it!

  4. I had a big, beautiful basil plant on my deck and the little neighborhood terror (squirrel) ripped it to shreds in July. So, no preserving for me this year :(

    1. Oh no!! I would quickly run to the farmers market and scoop up as much fresh basil as I can before the season is over. All the others I can do without, but not basil!


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