Preserving Italian Herbs

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There are many ways to preserve Italian herbs. These herbs are used in most Italian dishes. Herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme, and sage will make many delicious dishes. It is best if these herbs are fresh and grown in the summer. They can easily be gown on your own sunny windowsill. Italian herbs can be preserved by making your own herbal salt. Collecting fresh, fine culinary herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme,sage and laurel are excellent herbs to start with. To dry these herbs, you can put them in a sieve and leave them to dry in a greenhouse, directly in the sun, for a week to ten days. You can use a flat basket if you dont have a sieve (and a windowsill if you dont have a greenhouse).

When the herbs are dry, remove the branches and collect the leaves.The leaves will crush easily. The dried herbs will be mixed with salt (the proportions are one or two tablespoons of herbs to five tablespoons of sea salt.) You will put them into a food processer until they form a powder. Then add one juniper berry for every tablespoon of herbs. The herbal salt should be stored in a tightly closed glass jar.

Fall weather can mean the end of life for most herb plants. If you plan in advance, you can enjoy your plants all winter long. Bring in your potted plants to protect them from the cold winter. You can put them on a sunny windowsill.

You can also preserve them by washing and drying the leaves and coarsely chopping them and then putting them in ziploc-marked freezer bags. The other option is to put them into ice cube trays, wash and dry the leaves, chop finely and fill ice cube trays halfway with herbs, pour water over trays and put in freezer. Take the cubes out of the trays and put into ziploc bags. When you are ready to use, you can either thaw cubes or just drop into soups or stews.

Gather 8 to 12 stems in a bunch, wash and dry, hang each bunch upside down in a dry area away fom direct sunlight. It should take 2 to 4 weeks for the drying process to be complete. When herbs are completely dried you can strip the leaves, crumble, and put into air-tight jars and store in a cool dry place.

Preserving Italian herbs can also be done by using salt, vinegar, and oil. You can make flavored salt by adding a layer of herbal leaves and pour in salt. Alternate the layering until the jar is filled. You can remove the dried leaves and store flavored salt in an air tight container. This will add flavor to noodles and other food staples. There are many ways to preserve herbs. The best way to use herbs is when they are freshly picked and by preserving them you can add that fresh taste to all of your pasta, stews, and soup dishes. There is nothing better than fresh basil or parsley on your favorite Italian foods.

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