Picked from the garden or purchased at the market, fresh herbs equal big flavor potential. Feature them in pesto or vinaigrette, freeze them for later or try your hand at drying.
- Add hearty herbs – thyme, rosemary, oregano – early in the cooking process to infuse flavor into the dish.
- Reserve tender herbs – basil, chives, parsley, cilantro – to add at the end of cooking time.
- 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried.
Dry fresh herbs to use later. Rinse herbs and remove excess water in a salad spinner. Pat herbs dry. Timing varies depending on leaf size, freshness, air humidity and temperature. Crush a little dried herb in your fingers. It should crumble easily when dry. Pick a drying method:
- Hang dry: Gather small bunches of herbs, tie stems with 100% cotton kitchen string and hang in a dry area with air circulation. This method can take 24 hours or up to a week.
- Microwave: Place woody-stem herbs such as oregano, thyme or rosemary in a single layer between two paper towels. Microwave about 1 minute, testing dryness every 20 seconds.
- Dehydrate: Place herbs on a dehydrator tray lined with a mesh dehydrator sheet. Top with another mesh sheet. Dehydrate at 95 F until leaves are crisp. Let cool and remove stems.
Freeze fresh herbs for up to three months using ice cube trays. Pour water or olive oil over herbs to cover, submerging any that poke out. Freeze until firm. If desired, transfer cubes to resealable freezer bags and return to freezer. Drop an herb cube into soup or a sauce or thaw and use herbs as desired.
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