The Best Way To Preserve Herbs?

Discussion in Food & Drink started by Denis Hard • Feb 15, 2016.

  1. Denis Hard

    Denis HardWell-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Threads:
    991
    Messages:
    4,335
    Likes Received:
    789
    There are some who prefer drying herbs which they haven't yet used while others think freezing them is better. There's one thing I hate about dried herbs though — they normally lose their flavor. Frozen herbs don't taste that great either. See the dilemma?

    How do you guys preserve herbs when you have to?
     
  2. gata montes

    gata montesActive Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Threads:
    30
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    317
    As growing and preserving herbs is something that I've been doing for as long as I can remember and have during that time come across many, many people with the same complaint - only to find that the reason they are finding their preserved herbs lack flavor - is to put it bluntly - because they've been doing it incorrectly - hopefully this will help.

    Although I would first just say that full flavor is guaranteed whichever preservation method is chosen - the method of choice and the one most widely recommended - if wanting the next best thing to herbs freshly plucked off the plant - is to freeze them - as not only do they retain their full flavor and color but as - unlike dried herbs - they retain their texture too - they can - once defrosted - be used in just the same way as you would fresh herbs - in salads, dressings, as pizza toppings or for adding to smoothies and desserts.

    However as herbs first frozen as they are - individually without water - and then stored in containers or plastic freezer bags have a tendency to go brittle, turn black or get freezer burn and freezing them in fluid stops this from happening - the best results are achieved by freezing them as ice cubes - either in plain water like this

    ICE CUBES.

    or mixed with oils, made into pesto or herb butters - like this

    Ice cubes - Herb Butter.

    That said - should you wish to dry herbs instead - the best results are obtained by using the old and much preferred traditional method of drying them inside - in an area that receives good light as well as good air circulation - rather than that of trying to dry them in direct sunlight or in a dehydrator - simply because - herbs that are dried inside retain their color and have much more flavor than those that have been dried outside - due to the fact - that herbs that have been fast dried in a dehydrator or outside in sunlight - not only results in them going brittle - but more importantly - causes them to lose their color and the majority of their flavor.

    In fact if wishing to dry herbs - you really can't go too far wrong - hanging your herbs in the kitchen, a storeroom, a garage or any other area that has good air circulation - but just remember not to make the bunches too big - as doing that can and will cause the herbs to go moldy.
     
  3. cocolgooh

    cocolgoohActive Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Threads:
    131
    Messages:
    541
    Likes Received:
    249
    I typically freeze them in ice cubes as @gata montes@gata montes has suggested above. I find that you end up with just the right amount that way, and if you decide for whatever reason that you need more of something for the particular dish you're making then you can throw in more ice cubes.

    I've never tried this myself but I know someone that will add a little bit of food colouring to the water before they pour it into the ice cube tray as well, so that they can easily identify which herb is which in the freezer. I personally just use a different colored tray for each set of herbs I've frozen so I can identify them.
     
  4. DrRipley

    DrRipleyExpert

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Threads:
    740
    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    315
    Making compound butter is one of my most favorite methods but the downside of that is that you'd only be able to use it when the recipe calls for butter as well. As an alternative I also sometimes do this but only with olive oil instead. I put the herbs in a jar, usually ground up, then I put in olive oil. I don't know if this is a method used by many people or if it is a good way of preserving but I have used it for myself and after months I think the herb still tastes alright. I do this for garlic as well but again I'm not sure if it's just me or if it really is a good way, but I guess as long as you use it within a month then it will mostly be fine.