liesey-winks (spondonicle) wrote in vegancooking,
liesey-winks
spondonicle
vegancooking

Drying Herbs

Hey guys!

I love cooking with fresh herbs, they make a huge difference between a meal being bland or more-ish, but when I don't have the opportunity to grow my own I can never use up the supermarket bought bunches before they go off. So I googled around and it turns out there's a couple of super easy ways of saving fresh herbs for later, whether you've bought them or want to preserve your herb garden before it goes to seed. 'Cause these things are better in your belly than in the compost.

I tried two types of drying and they had exactly the same result, so do whatever is easiest for the herbs/space you have. Just make sure your herbs are completely dry before you start so they don't develop any mould. Putting them in a (really) low oven for a few minutes should do the trick.

1 - "Hanging". Tie an elastic band around the stems of your herbs, hang up in a well-ventilated area (you can pretend you're in a Jane Austen novel at this point) for 3-4 days until you can crunch the leaves with your fingers. If you're worried about pests or dust, you can put them in a perforated paper bag or make a "collar" out of newspaper and tape it around the stems.

2 - "Wire Rack". This is handy if you have some loose leaves or stems too short to hang. Just chuck the herbs on a wire rack or screen, so air can get above and below them and leave out in the open for a few days.

Once your herbs are dry cut them up with a clean pair of kitchen scissors and put in a dry airtight container, like an old spice or jam jar. The flavour will last longer if you keep them away from sunlight, too. Then whenever you're making stir fry, curry, stew, pasta sauce, etc throw in a tablespoon or two of your delicious dried herbs for an extra aromatic kick.

Freezing is even easier - you can just pick off the leaves from your bunch of basil/mint/coriander/what-have-you and put them in a zip-lock bag, where they'll last for a few months in the freezer. Or finely chop them, stems and all, and measure it into icecube trays with a bit of water. When your recipe calls for fresh herbs (this wouldn't work with raw things like salad, unfortunately) pop in a cube. I've seen some comments in this comm where people mention pairing herbs/ingredients that work well together in the same tray, like basil and tomato paste.


Trying this opened my eyes to how easy it is to cut down on wastage, and I'm sure there's a lot of simple, obvious things I could be doing to make the most of the food in my kitchen. If you have any tips on drying, preserving, freezing, etc feel free to share them around! :D
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