Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Preserving the Herbal Harvest

The harvest is coming in quickly now. We keep our freshly harvested basil in water on the counter top and enjoy its fragrance before we use it in cooking. Putting the basil in the fridge will often cause it to turn brown BUT if you have a frost free fridge you can dry your basil!
Here's how: Pick approx 20-30 leaves or 10-15 stems and put them in a clean brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top down and place a paper clip on the bag to keep it closed. Write the name of the herb and the date on the bag. Then simply put that bag in your refrigerator. It will take approximately 2 weeks for the herb to dry (or technically dehydrate). Then move your basil into a glass jar, preferably brown glass) and store in a dark, cool place. Enjoy yummy fresh dried basil all winter in spaghetti sauce, vegetable soup, or sprinkled on salads.

This drying process works well for herbs that otherwise lose flavor or scent and color such as tarragon, the fruit flavored sages, lemon or lime balm, parsley, scented geraniums, and rose petals.

This "Cool" way to dry herbs comes from our friend Herb Bayshus who's famous for a lot of quotes including: "Always remember to enjoy a full and healthy life, add a dash of Herbs and a pinch of Spice".

Photo: fresh large sweet Italian basil and purple basil

No comments: