Last summer, I felt like a farmer. I know that’s a big stretch, but I was harvesting my herbs and finding different ways to preserve them for use the rest of the year. It was such a worthwhile endeavor; every time I opened one of my jars and the explosion of flavor would pour out, I was thrilled I’d had the forethought and taken the time to make that possible.
Preserving fresh herbs is a great way to infuse your food with great flavor all year long. Summer is the time to take advantage of the abundance of herbs being harvested. Whether you grow your own or shop the farmers' markets, you should take advantage of this gift of flavor. It’s easy to do, doesn’t take a lot of time, and will give you pleasure all year long—your taste buds will be delighted! Having the herbs you need at your fingertips makes cooking much easier.
Here are 3 easy ways to do it.
1. Drying herbs
The best herbs to dry are marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Dried herbs are three to four times stronger than fresh herbs. They will last longer if stored in a dark dry spot.
Group the same type of herbs together and tie stems together. Hang them upside down to dry. Once they’re completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store in a glass air-tight container. Make certain to label them with their names and dates.
Herbs can also be dried in your microwave on a paper towel, although this method is not as effective at preserving their full flavor. Spread the herbs out so they do not overlap and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for about two minutes, checking after one minute to see how the herbs are doing. Microwave time will depend on the density of the herbs. Store in glass containers, as above, or place in resealable bags, removing as much air as possible before closing and labeling.
Dehydrators work well. You need to follow the directions that come with the machine and store as above.
2. Herb pastes
Put the herb of your choice in the bowl of a food processor and start processing while adding enough olive oil to make a paste. Spoon the paste into a glass jar and refrigerate; it will keep for at least three months. Alternatively, spoon the paste into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, put them into a resealable freezer bag. They will keep frozen for 10 to 12 months.
Be creative and combine your own herbs to make your own blends. Since everything looks the same when it is frozen, make sure to label and date all your different bags.
3. Frozen herbs
Once frozen, the herbs will last 10 to 12 months—just in time for next summer.
Chop the herbs so they are ready to use. Fill an ice cube tray with the chopped spices and top off each cube with either water or olive oil. Either one works. Once they are frozen, remove them from the tray and place in a resealable bag that you’ve labeled. When you are ready to use a cube, just remove it from the bag and drop it into what you are cooking.
Another way to freeze the herbs is to lay the fresh herbs on a tray or plate and place them in the freezer. Once they're completely frozen, place them in a resealable plastic bag and roll them up, removing as much air as possible. Remember to label the bag with the type of herbs and the date, and seal the bag closed.
© Excerpt from Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook (pages 51–52)
Did you hear about my OUTRAGEOUS goal?!
Ending one year and starting a new one is an opportunity to think BIG!!!
Here Is What's Happening
This Saturday, September 10th I will be at the Briarcliff Manor Community Day with food samples and signing books. If you are in the area, I will be at Law Field, 1025 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510 from 4 to 7 pm. I hope to see you there.
Thursday, September 15th I will at Albano Appliances in Pound Ridge, at 6:45 for their open house. I’ll be signing books and offering samples made from recipes from Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook.
If you have never been to Albano’s you are in for a treat. They are a family owned business with appliances for every room and every budget!
Albano Appliance -- 83 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576)
RSVP to Amanda Demirjiam (firstname.lastname@example.org)
September 22, I will be doing a cooking demonstration Poulet en Sauce at Albano
Learn the five tricks chefs use to create the flavor that makes their food so good.
Space is limited call for reservations 914-764-4051
October 15th between 6 & 8 pm, I will be at King's Crown Wine and Spirits in Pleasantville for a food and wine tasting as well as a book signing.
Space is limited – call for reservations 914-769-0042
King's Crown Wine and Spirits, 45 Washington Ave Pleasantville, NY 10570
More to come. . .
Le Kitchen Cookbook
Everything you need to know to be a good cook.
by Adeline M. Olmer
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