Monday, October 12, 2009

Preparing and Storing Fresh Herbs for the Cold

I think by now everyone knows just how obsessed I am with my herb garden.  It truly thrived this year, allowing me to create some incredible dishes, so you can imagine my fear at not having my herb garden until next Spring.  This year I want to prepare myself before the frost takes the life of my beautiful herbs.  There are many different ways to keep fresh herbs throughout the cold seasons, it just depends on which method works best for you.

Growing Herbs Indoors:
Although it can be quite difficult, it is possible to grow herbs indoors.  You just have to be sure to carefully select where you place each herb.  Each herb has particular growing conditions that allow them to remain the healthiest, so it important to learn about your herbs before bringing them inside.  Here are 2 lists of the top 5 and top 10 herbs for growing indoors, along with their preferred growing conditions.  Here is also some handy growing tips for keeping your herbs indoors provided by Eat Right Ontario .

There are also products available for purchase to help aid in the growth of your indoor herbs, such as the AeroGarden.  I have personally never used any indoor herb growing products (the price is a little high for me), but would love to hear any feedback from anyone who has used them!

Storing Herbs in the Fridge:
Before freezing all of my fresh herbs, I like to set aside some of my herbs to keep on hand in the fridge.  It is very simple to do this and your herbs will last for at least a week.  Simply wash and dry your herbs, wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel, and keep them wrapped in the paper towel inside of a ziplock bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.

Freezing Herbs:
Freezing herbs is a great way to keep your fresh herbs during the cold seasons, but the freezing process varies depending on the type of herb.  Soft and hard herbs are very different, and therefore must be frozen using different processes.  Kalyn's Kitchen has some great entries on freezing herbs that I followed for freezing my herbs this year.

If you have any other tips or tricks for keeping your fresh herbs throughout the cold seasons, please share them here!


Miranda said...

Hi there,
Thank you for stopping by and the nice comment.
I enjoy your site.
I have lots of herbs too. But in FL you do not have to worry much about the cold, but you do have to worry about the heat.

Take Care.

Chessa! said...

I grew so much basil this summer i'm freezing it so use later...I tried keeping my herbs indoors last year but I had so many gnats that I had to freeze everything and throw th dirt out:(
thank you so much for stopping by today:)

iva yaneva said...

my mom grows her own herbs and she also freezes them for the winter :)
lovely post!

ejm said...

I was madly rescuing potted herbs this past week to bring them indoors to overwinter under plant lights in the basement. I don't generally harvest them over the winter though. I find indoor herbs to be a little dull tasting. They really do want sun to intensify their flavour.

I wash and hang many herbs upside down to dry them. Basil works really well this way. Our garden basil was dismal this year but luckily the vegetable stores sell basil "trees" in August and September.

We love crushing the dried basil leaves as we need them when making pizza. They're a thousand times better than commercial dried basil (even though they're dried, they actually smell and taste like basil).

(Of course, we also freeze half-made basil pesto in ice cube trays - adding the parmesan cheese and nuts when we thaw the cubes.)

Jill Turner said...

I can barely keep my herbs alive in the warm summer months. Guess I don't have that "green thumb!" :(

redkathy said...

This is my first try growing herbs. Had some success but not what I hope for. It is very time consuming. Thanks for the info, I can certainly use it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article on preparing and storing fresh herbs for the cold.

I found this website useful for Herb Gardening tips I think you guys will find it interesting too.

Peter - Herb garden plants