You often see fresh herbs in a lot of kitchens that you visit. Herbs have been around for more than a thousand years and have used for various purposes in the field of medicine. But in recent times, herbs have become a popular constituent of ingredients in kitchens all over America. These hard and soft herbs provide an excellent source for filling foods with essence and aroma.
While herbs are mainly used during the summers and sometimes, you might find yourself in a bit of a puzzle over finding ways to preserve them for future usage.
You can avoid wasting money by following the tips given below to preserve your valued herbs.
Oven Dried Herbs
The process of drying herbs naturally can be a bit of a problem if you are residing in a humid area and as such, oven dried herbs is a faster and better option. On a baking tray which is aligned through the means of parchment paper, put the herbs inside an oven which is set to 150 degrees Fahrenheit while leaving the oven door slightly open.
This process can take between one to four hours, so you should keep an eye on them as they are drying out. When the herbs become brittle, they are ready for storage. Place the dried herbs into a container that is airtight and you should have a quota of dried herbs that have the potential of lasting for a year. Try to keep in mind that to use parchment paper as metal have a tendency to make the herbs taste funny.
Air Dried Herbs
The method of air drying is the most common method of preserving herbs that many people around the globe use. All you are required to do is to tie your herbs together with a rubber band or stems and then hang in a room or an area which is very well ventilated and dry. The area chosen should be warm but should not be exposed to direct sunlight and the herbs ought to be hanged facing downwards.
If you are not certain of the surroundings i.e. if you live in a place that is dusty, you can always use a paper bag to save the herbs from picking up contaminants. Just ensure that the bag does not hinder the airflow. Leave the herbs for them to dry. The leaves will begin to crumble at around one week or four at maximum. The dried herbs are then set to be stored for up to a year.
This process is very suitable in the case of herbs like thyme, oregano, sage and marjoram. Never forget to get rid of any excess dirt or water which can lead to the growth of mildew.
You can freeze such herbs like tarragon, cilantro, basil and parsley which are generally leafy in appearance. Chop the herbs and put them into empty ice cube slots with an addition of a broth or the more commonly used water.
You could as well mix the herbs with butter or olive oil and water. Make a paste and freeze it in a container that is airtight for future usage in the following three months.