Storing Herbs

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Some herbs, such as thyme, can be treated with no loss of flavor, but others are best stored in infusions to retain their distinct taste. Soft leaved herbs can be frozen. When drying, hand up sprigs of individual herbs in bunches in a well ventilated, warm, dry, dark place, such as an airing cupboard linen closet. Root herbs should be cleaned and cut into small pieces and dried in the oven at a low temperature on a baking tray. You should store dry herbs in airtight containers. Herbs should be kept in the dark, so store in a cupboard closet or, if herbs will be kept on open shelves, place them in opaque containers.

When freezing, whole leaves can be placed in clearly labeled plastic bags and then kept in the freezer. Alternately, the leaves can be finely chopped and frozen, with water in an ice cube tray. Individual frozen cubes can be added to dishes as required. Infusion is a popular method with some cooks. It is to create infusions using good quality olive oil or wine vinegar. The infusion can be of a single herb, such as basil, or two or three different herbs, and used to add flavor to dishes, such as pizzas and salads.

Pick seed heads just as they are ripening. At this stage the seeds should soon come away from the stalks. Place on a tray and leave the seeds for a few days in a warm, dry place until they have completely dried. Once the seeds are thoroughly washed, tip them into a glass jar with an airtight lid. Store the seed in a cool, dry, dark place. The best method of storing soft abandoned herbs, such as parsley and mint, is to freeze them. Chop up the herb and place in ice cube trays. Top up with water and freeze. This has the advantage of keeping the herb's color.

Different herbs can be combined in a number of distinct mixtures. Bouquet garni, for example, is a combination of several herbs, such as bay, parsley, marjoram and thyme. Sprigs of the herbs are tied together or place in a muslin cheesecloth bag, which is cooked with the dish and removed before serving. Banches of herbs can be discharged by hanging them in a dry place where they are out of direct sunlight. A fence has been identified to screen the practical corner of the garden from view. It is strong enough to support a climber.

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