Monday, June 5, 2023

Store And Preserve Herbs 5 Ways

Continue below the table of contents

Table of Contents:
Store and preserve herbs by drying
Store and preserve herbs by freezing
Store and preserve herbs by using oil and garlic
Store and preserve herbs by making herb vinegar
Store and preserve herbs making herb sugar

Store and preserve herbs in winter?. It is possible! In the summer, it is nice to get fresh herbs quickly from your herb garden. So don’t let the greens wilt during the winter months, and store the plants before they die. Use drying, freezing, oil, vinegar, or sugar to preserve your favorite herbs for months to come. With our storage tips, you can still enjoy these greens to the fullest in the colder months.

Store and preserve herbs by drying – three techniques

Suitable herbs: mint, tarragon, bay leaf, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Bunch of herbs on the line

Tie the herbs together in bunches with a rubber band. Hang the groups upside down on a line. The ideal drying place is warm and well ventilated. It is best to dry the herbs at a temperature between 30 and 45 degrees Celsius or 86 to 113 Fahrenheit. You can use a greenhouse or flat container to dry herbs, but make sure there is adequate ventilation. A warm, dry attic is also suitable.

Drying time varies per herb but takes one to two weeks on average. To get clean dried herbs, you can tie a paper bag around them. This way, the herbs do not crumble on the floor, and you do not have to deal with dust on the herb bunches.

Drying Herbs using a drying rack

Although this method is fairly new it might work when having a lot of herbs but not that much space. A preferred drying rack is one that has multiple layers so you can dry more herbs at the same time without taking up so much space.

Lay the herbs on the different levels and let them dry as you would when hanging on a line.

Drying in the oven

Using your oven to store and preserve herbs is great! Just clean the herbs well and pat them completely dry—Preheat the oven to 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the herbs in the oven, leaving the oven door slightly open for good air circulation.

If you put the herbs on a grid or baking tray, you can slide several layers on top of each other in the oven. Do not set the setting higher than 35 degrees. Otherwise, too many valuable substances will be lost.

Put a cork stopper between the oven door so that the released moisture can escape. When your house starts to smell delicious, you have dried the herbs too long. At this stage, the herbs give off their essential oils and thus their flavor.

You can also put the herbs in the freezer overnight before drying. Put the clean, dry herbs in a plastic bag in the freezer. When they are frozen, crush them. Place them on kitchen paper and dry quickly.

Storage: I prefer to keep the herbs whole and crumble them only when used. Store them cool and dark in airtight cans or jars. Shelf life: is about twelve months. After that, the flavor diminishes rapidly.

Store and preserve herbs by freezing

How to store and preserve herbs by freezing? Luckily, there are many herbs suitable to freeze: basil, borage flowers, chives, savory, lemon balm, dill, tarragon, chervil, parsley, fennel leaf.

Freezing using water

Wash the herbs, let them dry well, and then chop them finely. Spread the herbs in an ice cube tray. Flood them with water and freeze as quickly as possible. 

Freezing using Butter

freezing in butter, melt some butter in a pan over very low heat. The butter should not fry, only melt. Let the butter cool slightly, but pour it still liquid into the ice cube mold.

Freezing herbs using oil

Freezing herbs in oil work best with “hard” herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. The method is the same as with butter. For soft herbs, a mixture of butter and oil is ideal. Then use half oil and half butter.

Shelf life, storage and usage of frozen herbs

You can now store and preserve herbs in the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen, you can keep them in a freezer bag. Shelf life: for most herbs is about six months. 

Store and preserve herbs by using oil and garlic

Photo by Joanna Kosinska

Another way to store and preserve herbs is to keep them in oil, and almost all herbs can be kept in oil. For example, choose a mixture of sage, rosemary, oregano, or lavender and marjoram.

Clean tightly sealable bottles well and rinse them with hot soda water. Wash the herbs well and remove unsightly bits. Dry the herbs carefully by dabbing them with a cloth. Peel the garlic cloves. Use good quality oil with a neutral taste, for example, olive, sunflower, or rapeseed oil. The amount depends on the contents of your bottles. Alright, so Let met go over the steps for this method.

Making your oil

  • Heat 1 cup of oil with three cloves of garlic for five minutes on low heat. 
  • Then let the oil cool. 
  • Put the herbs in the bottles, 
  • pour the cooled oil with the garlic over them, top off the bottles with the rest of the oil
  •  and use a label to indicate what is inside. 
  • Seal the bottle tightly and let everything steep in a cool, dark place for three to four weeks. 
  • Strain the oil through a fine sieve and transfer it to clean bottles. 
  • Indicate the date on the label.

Shelf life, storage and usage of herb oil

Store your oil concoction in a cool and dark place. The shelf life is around four months. You can use your fragranced oils for baking, cooking, or an excellent dressing for the coming months.

Store and preserve herbs by making herb vinegar

To store and preserve herbs using vinegar is another excellent way to use your excess of herbs. Suitable herbs to keep in vinegar: thyme, oregano, dill, savory.

Alright, so what steps to take in making your own vinegar:

  • Wash the herbs and pat them dry. 
  • Unzip the leaves from the stems. 
  • Place the herbs in a clean glass jar and pour on a mild vinegar until well submerged. White and red wine vinegar are suitable. 
  • Cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Let the vinegar steep for two weeks in a sunny, warm place.
  • Then strain the vinegar through a clean tea towel and pour it into tightly-sealed glass bottles that you have previously rinsed with hot soda water. 
  • Add some fresh, clean herb sprigs for decoration. For example, dill screens are very decorative.

Always use glass to store vinegar, though. If you store vinegar in metal or stone jars, harmful salts can be formed. 

Shelf life, storage, and usage of herb vinegar

Store your herb vinegar in a dark and cool place. When stored correctly, you can keep it for about six months. Use your self-made dressing for your salads or other foods that need some kick.

Store and preserve herbs making herb sugar

Suitable herbs: lavender.

Fill a jam jar or Mason jar with sugar mixed with lavender flowers. You will use about four teaspoons of fresh lavender flowers on one jar of sugar. Put the jar in a warm place for about a month. Do choose a spot in the shade to prevent the flowers from discoloring. Strain the sugar before use if you don’t want flowers in your recipes. You can, however, eat the flowers as usual.

Shelf life, storage, and usage of lavender sugar

Store: in a cool, dry place.Shelf life: see sugar packaging.Use: in baking cookies and cakes in ice cream, tea or liqueur.

-- Get The Things You Need To Start --
Blogging about everything I learn regarding (urban)homesteading, off-grid, and outdoor living and what it takes to build my own CO2-neutral home, one-day ;-).

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

- Is this interesting for you? Click below -

Latest Articles