August 13, 2018

Freezing and Drying Woody Herbs

My herb garden can have good years and bad years. This year was somewhere in the middle, not great, not horrible. Too much rain in the beginning of the year and too little in the last couple of weeks. However, I have still had more than enough of an abundance to freeze and dry. Here is a quick rundown of how I keep my herbs useable year round.

To freeze:
  • This works for any woody perennial herb, such as rosemary and sage (thyme, marjoram). 
  • Rinse herbs under water.
  • Pat dry with paper towels (or use a salad spinner which works great). 
  • Try to get off as much moisture as you can in order that the leaves (especially with sage) don't stick together.
  • Spread the stems (or with the case of sage I just freeze the leaves) on a cookie or jelly pan and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Try to spread out the herbs as much as possible. This will allow a better flash freeze. 
  • Place flash frozen herbs in a bag or plastic container in the freezer. 
  • I freeze rosemary whole on the stem, with sage I just freeze the leaves. 
To dry:
  • Drying fresh herbs is very easy.
  • Rinse herbs and pat dry with paper towels. 
  • Strip enough leaves off the end of the stems in order to tie a piece of twine around. 
  • Gather herbs into bunches, tie with a piece of twine (make sure the twine is long enough to hang upside down). 
  • Hang herbs upside down suspended from twine. 
  • It normally takes about 3 weeks to fully dry.
  • Store in an air tight container.
  • I store my herbs whole and then when needed I use a mortar and pestle to grind or hand crumble. 
  • I find that waiting to grind or chop dried herbs until they are being used helps to keep the flavor of the herb intact.
That's it. Very easy. Now soft annual herbs such as basil don't work in the same manner. Those work better frozen in ice cube trays, which I have explained in the past in this post:

1 comment:

  1. I just turned some herbs into herbal salt :-) and dried some together with tomatoes, then packed them in a jar with olive oil. Thanks for sharing, Ann!


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