There are some conventional ways of storing fresh herbs nowadays, but I like to keep them handy, at arm’s length, for easy use in the dish that I would be constructing at the time.
I trim off any loose leaves, like the ones that are wilted and that have gone brown from any weather damage, and trim a little off the base of the stem. I then get a piece of cling wrap and a few ice blocks, place the herbs, with most of the stem in the cling wrap with the ice and wrap loosely around the stem. Place this into a jar or a glass sturdy enough to hold the fresh herbs safely in, and place in to the fridge for when you next use them.
By using this method, the herbs will stay fresh for a week or more…
The other way of preserving your fresh herbs is by a Dehydrating method. This method is now becoming very popular and will keep your pantry full for when you prepare the hearty winter dishes that one would get from using the fresh taste of summer herb varieties. This process also prolongs the shelf life of the herbs.
The beauty of this preserving method is that when you need to add a kick to a dish of a specific flavour profile, and it is out of season, you would have it! It is pretty hard to get some fresh herbs in the autumn and winter seasons, but in this case, you would have the solution.
What you would need to be successful in this method, is temperature, time, the flow of air and most importantly, good quality herbs. This method is basically having bundles of fresh herbs, neatly tied together and strung upside down either from the rafters or kitchen windowsills. I’m personally not too fond of this method, as not all the elements in the air nowadays are known.
Technology has made the Chef’s life so much easier in today’s world. We have Dehydrating Machines that are available from household to medium counter-top to larger industrial versions!
By dehydrating fresh herbs, they retain their colour, have more taste and stand less chance to spoil.
By the end of summer I will have Sweet Basil, Sage, Thyme, and Oregano added to my pantry stock!
What type of herbs will you try?
Go have a look at www.excaliburdehydrator.co.nz for more information on Dehydrating Machines!