I am sure many of you are guilty of letting fresh herbs and spices to go off or wilt. When a recipe only calls for a bit of ginger or half a chilli pepper the other half usually is left looking sad and forgotten at the bottom of the fridge…
You all been here right??
What a waste especially during the winter months when fresh herbs are even more costly as they are often imported.
Well no longer here are some simple tips to make the most out of your herbs and spices.
Preserving Herbs and Spices
Chilli Pepper’s and Ginger
You see that chilli and ginger in the picture above put them into separate freezer bags or containers and when you need a bit of chilli or a bit of ginger just take them out and with a fine grater, grate however much you need into the recipe. These will last 3-6 months before losing any flavour.
Most herbs will freeze well, especially softer herbs such as basil, parsley, dill and mint. Make sure you wash and dry the herbs well, strip the leaves off and place them into freezer bags or containers label and date them and they should last at least 3 months if not longer.
I have used ice-cube trays in the past and this method is also very good as you will have a handy little cube size which is perfect just to add flavour to your dish. You can use water or oil and mix different types of herbs if you wish. Just freeze in the trays and when the herbs have frozen as ice cubes remove and store in a plastic freezer bag. Remove the cubes as you need.
Hang up those herbs!
This preservation method requires the least effort and will work best for your hardier herbs such as
Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley, Lavender
Make a small bundle no more than 5-10 stems, tie the bunch together using a rubber band at the top of the stems, any flowers on the bunch should point downwards. Find a dry, warm, dark place to hang them up to air dry them, the kitchen is not recommended.
Leave them to dry for 1-3 weeks thicker stemmed herbs may take longer to dry. To protect them from dust etc you can place a paper bag over them but remember to pierce some air holes in the paper bag to help with circulation and prevent mould.
Once they begin to feel crumbly they are ready to take down. Remove the leaves picking out any bad bits. Label and store in glass jars in a cool, dark place.
Dried herbs are more potent than fresh so remember that when cooking, one teaspoon dried equals one tablespoon of fresh herbs.
Frozen herbs will not look good as a garnish they’re only good for cooking with.