Harvest herbs to bring the flavors of summer into the kitchen year-round.
If you’ve enjoyed your favorite fresh herbs in the summer, there’s no reason not to have that fresh taste through fall and winter. Harvest and preserve these edibles now before the first freeze.
HOW TO HARVEST HERBS:
- Cut in mid-morning, after the dew dries, but before temperatures begin to climb. This is when the essential oils of the plant are strongest.
- Harvest herbs often until frost. Be careful not to cut too close to the ground.
- At the end of the season, harvest the entire plant.
THREE WAYS TO PRESERVE HERBS:
- Bind small bundles of rosemary, thyme, oregano and others and hang in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
- After a few days, place herbs on a cookie sheet in a 150 degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour.
- To dry a few sprigs at a time, place them between paper towels in your microwave. Zap for 30 seconds, wait a few minutes, then zap again until the herbs are dry.
- Or use a dehydrator for crisp-dry herbs in three hours or less.
- Lightly coat clean, dry herbs such as basil and parsley with olive oil and freeze on cookie sheets.
- Or, place herbs in ice cube trays filled with water, juice or olive oil. For a pesto-like paste, blend herbs with olive oil before freezing.
- Once frozen, store in freezer-safe containers.
- Place 1/2 cup of washed, dry herbs such as dill, basil, tarragon or thyme in a clean pint glass jar and fill with oil or vinegar.
- Steep for a month.
- Strain into a clean jar or decorative bottle. Add a fresh herb sprig. Close tightly.