Now is the time to plant your herbs in the garden pots just sitting on your patio with nothing in them. They are lovely, fragrant and hardy so you should have great success in growing them. We have shared many tips on how to plant them in other posts on this blog so on this one we are going to concentrate on how to preserve them.
Usually when the growing season draws to a close, you want to take advantage of the potted harvest you have. Preserving herbs is easy and you have a couple of ways to do it. Once they are preserved you can give them as gifts, share them with your family and friends or use them yourself in recipes. They are healthy and good to eat and enjoy so don't wait to start growing and enjoying them.
Air-Drying: Different potted herbs dry at different rates so when bundling them make sure to put only one type together. Make the bundles no larger than 1" thick at the stem. Tie them securely with cotton string or raffia and leave enough length to create a loop for hanging.
Hang the bundles, leaves down in a warm dry place away from direct sunlight. Make sure that air can move freely around the bundles and they aren't touching anything. It usually take 10 days for leaves to become crisp enough to crumble. Remove them and store them in an airtight container.
Microwave drying: Line a dinner plate with paper towels. Arrange 1 cup of leaves in a single layer on the towels. Try not to overlap. Cover with another towel and heat for about 1 minute. If not completely dry keep drying at 30 second times until crisp enough to crumble. Let the leaves cool before putting them in a airtight container. Watch this process closely since they tend to burn if you leave them in to long.
Freezing: We love this way of preserving herbs. Lay leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze uncovered till rigid about 1 hr and then place them in freezer bags and return at one to the freezer. When you want to use them just take out what you need and chop while frozen. Some leaves like potted rosemary will darken slightly when thawed but the flavor is still robust and delightful. Use these frozen leaves to make basil pesto or mint for ice tea. Herb butter are great and tasty.
Potting your own herbs is easy and fun. We hope we have given you some great ideas on what to do with your harvest. Enjoy!