Herbs, Microwave Dry or Freeze

PhotobucketIt's growing or buying time for fresh herbs, then drying or freezing for future use.  I grow Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Chives, Fennel, and Parsley in tubs or pots.

In summer, Basil does well outside, but the rest of the year I keep a plant or two indoors near a window and snip for garnish on salads or to flavor recipes.

For a bulk quantity of Basil, I harvest and make a batch of pesto and freeze in mini-muffin or regular muffin tins, then store in a freezer bag.  



oregano
Oregano, wash and freeze
dried fennel
Dried Fennel
Thyme, Oregano and Rosemary grow well year round on the outside porch but need pruning or pinching back, so I harvest, wash, pat dry and store in freezer bags for use in soups, stews, and sauces.  They keep their color well, too.

For Fennel leafs, Parsley and Chives, I dry using the microwave.  Wash and pat dry herbs, place herbs between paper towels in batches and microwave on high for one to two minutes, checking for dryness after a minute, then adding 15 more seconds at a time, depending on the quantity and type of herb.  It never takes me more than two minutes.

It's done when you check its dry or brittle texture and feel no more moisture.

oregano
Oregano, also dried
Photobucket
Dried Chives

This method evaporates water in the herb, which dampens the towel then dries without over heating or cooking the herb. It quickly dries herbs compared to using an oven and herbs retain their color and flavor.

Store dried herbs in jars with lids and keep in a closed cabinet away from light.  They're perfect for recipes and garnishes.

Photobucket
Frozen Parsley
I've done Oregano both frozen and dried, but prefer frozen, and like Parsley both ways.
Dried Parsley
Dried Parsley


pesto
Pesto

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