The thing that always used to get wasted the most in our house was herbs. We could buy a pack of fresh herbs to use in a recipe, only use half of the pack and then they would get forgotten about. When we did remember them, they had gone funky and needed to be thrown out.
We combated that problem by growing all our own herbs, so we just cut what we need off the plant and it carries on growing. Perfect – no waste! The only trouble now is that we have a garden that is overgrowing with fresh herbs and frost will soon be setting in and I don’t want them to all go to waste. There is no way we can eat them all within the next week or so, so we are going to preserve them in a few different ways to keep them fresh and ensure that we have fresh herbs all throughout winter without having to buy them.
Herb Ice Cubes:
Pick and wash your herbs and then finely chop them. Fill an ice cube tray with your chopped herbs and then carefully top them up with a bit of water. Put the ice cube tray in the freezer for about 24 hours and then pop all the herb ice cubes out and store them in a freezer bag. These herb ice cube trays are great for adding to sauces, stews, slow cookers and soups.
Herb Oil Cubes:
This is exactly the same as the method above, but using olive oil instead of water. With these, I had them to a hot pan, just like you would plain olive oil to cook something like onions and mushrooms. This means that they cook in an infused oil. You can still add these to stews and soups too. You could use melted butter instead of olive oil also.
Pesto freezes really well. Make some up and then freeze it in ice cube trays and then just stir one in to some hot pasta.
Chop up the herb you want to use, or even a mixture, and mix into some softened butter. Form into a log shape using some baking paper and then freeze. Just slice off some herb butter as and when you need it. You can use it to add flavour to vegetables, to put on top of meat or fish or even to make garlic bread. I really like garlic and basil butter and it goes well in some mashed sweet potato.
Make herb infused oil or vinegar:
Add chopped fresh herbs to bottles of olive oil or white wine vinegar.
Hang your fresh herbs above your hob (away from direct heat) and leave them to dry out for about 2-4 weeks. You can then store them in an air tight container for up to a year. This method is best for more woody herbs like thyme and oregano.
Whether you are bringing in your herbs from the garden for the winter or making the most of store bought fresh herbs, never let herbs go to waste again!
What is your favourite herb? Leave a comment below.
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