Preserving herbs is a guaranteed way to have warm-weather flavors in the coldest of times.
One of the best parts about going to the farmers market is strolling home with a fragrant bouquet of tender, organic, locally-grown herbs. They are often so bountiful that it seems like the leaves will never stop unfurling, but cut to a few months later and you’re in the dead of winter looking for ways to revive yourself. Enter: preserved herbs! There are numerous ways to give yourself a summer breeze in the depths of February–here are just a few:
The simplest (and most decorative) way to hold onto those tasty green flavors. To properly dry your herbs, make sure to remove any leaves from the bottom 1/4 of the stem, then make a little bundle and tie up the bottom with some twine. Hang upside down in a dry area with lots of airflow but no direct sunlight for 1-5 days. You’ll know they’re ready when you can crumble a leaf between your fingers! Remove your newly-dried leaves by pinching where the leaves begin and using your other hand to pull the stem through your fingers. Store your flavors in an airtight jar, maybe even making your own spice combinations by adding to one of these ones!
Double up on your seasoning game! Best for rosemary, oregano, or thyme. Chop 1 cup herbs, then combine with 1 cup kosher salt. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and pop into a 250 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Let cool, then pour into a jar. Makes an excellent gift both to loved ones and to your future meals.
Add a little pizzazz to your repertoire of oils and vinegars. Super easy: just stuff a jar with your herb(s) of choice and pour either oil or vinegar on top. Leave for a week or two, testing the flavor concentration until you get the depth you’re looking for. Strain out your herbs and let your recipes rejoice.
Little chunks of summer to chase away the winter blues. Puree your herbs with some tomatoes, garlic, cheese, oil, and salt & pepper. Spoon your slurry into an ice cube tray and freeze, then pop out your flavor cubes and store in a Tupperware to add a blast of summer to any bite.
In a bowl, mash together softened butter with chopped herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spoon it onto some parchment paper, roll into a log, then seal and freeze until you’re ready to enjoy! Melt it onto corn, into mashed potatoes, upon your toast…even use it to fry your eggs!