School is back in session and the weather has cooled off significantly after this ridiculously hot summer. It seems that fall is just around the corner, which means an end to doing my “grocery shopping” in my back yard. Just in time, the Washington Post published a great article today on preserving herbs till next summer’s harvest.
Option 1: Make a paste
I have never had much luck freezing herbs, so I was thrilled to see the author recommend a new technique: freezing in oil to make a paste. This would be perfect for making pesto in the dead of winter. Here is the recipe.
Option 2: Make a syrup
A syrup infused with herbs can be refrigerated for about 2 weeks or frozen for up to 9 months. The author recommends using the syrup in place of liquid in baking recipes, or for brushing on baked goods for an added layer of flavor. Personally, I am looking forward to enjoying mojitos all winter using the spearmint I have growing now. Here is the recipe.
Option 3: Dry your herbs
Plants with a woody stem, such as rosemary or lavender, can be dried — pick a few healthy looking branches, bundle them together and just hang them up. Within 2-4 weeks they should be dry and can be stored in an airtight container. I also like to dry bouquets of lavender blossoms, which can be kept in vases to serve as an attractive air freshener.
Being able to enjoy some of the flavors of summer year-round will hopefully make this coming winter a little more tolerable!