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Thread: Herbgeek and others who preserve herbs in the winter....

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Herbgeek and others who preserve herbs in the winter....

    I love my herb bed, and I'm always so sad to see winter come when I can't run out to my kitchen garden and snag some parsley or thyme.

    Here are the herbs I have that are still growing/not dead in my garden. Taking suggestions on preserving: Overwinter? Dry? Freeze?

    Parsley--I have a lot of both curly and flat leaf
    Thyme
    Rosemary
    Oregano--starting to die off but still mostly green
    Lavendar--I plan on cultivating those in my yard and expanding plantings as I go along. Should I cover them with leaves and/or burlap to protect them from the frigid temps and strong winds?

    Mint/chives/sage/basil are all done. Let me know what I should have done if I had caught them in time.

    Thanks!
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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Parsley--I have a lot of both curly and flat leaf-
    Thyme
    Rosemary
    Oregano--starting to die off but still mostly green
    Lavendar--I plan on cultivating those in my yard and expanding plantings as I go along. Should I cover them with leaves and/or burlap to protect them from the frigid temps and strong winds?

    Mint/chives/sage/basil are all done. Let me know what I should have done if I had caught them in time.
    Parsley I chop and freeze. I've only done this curly, which stays nice and fluffy after cutting and stays dark green when frozen. Not sure about flat parsley and how it would fare.
    Thyme I mostly dry- it doesn't seem to lose flavor like more leafy herbs.
    Rosemary I dry, freeze and also simmer in oil on the lowest heat for 1/2 hour or so and use that to drizzle on roasted veggies or breads.
    Leave the lavender alone, and prune in the late spring. Its one of the last to come to life. I prune it as the snow is melting but could also be done later.
    Chives I don't bother with as they seem to lose their flavor- I only make a chive vinegar in the spring with the flowers.
    Basil I preserve with either olive oil or butter. I put all together in the food processor, then put the goo into a freezer bag- smoosh it so its flat and can break off the piece I need easily. Don't fill the bag more than about 1/3 full or it will be too thick and get too hard to break off pieces easily.
    Sage I dry, and put in honey for sore throats. Dried sage to me is a different herb than fresh, I like it also but its different.
    Mint I dry for tea, or freeze individual leaves in ice cube trays when I'm feeling like being a fancy pants and want to use fancy ice cubes in drinks


    oops forget oregano- this I dry and use for anything Italian or any stews with meat, or with black bean dishes.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    OK. I will chop and freeze the flat parsley remaining today in the interest of research and because I was trying to figure out what to do with it.
    Never thought about chive vinegar using the blossoms. I
    I am going to try chopping the garlic with olive oil and freezing it in flat bags in order to break off what I need. I had tried freezing it in small containers but they are too hard to access when frozen solid.

    Great ideas, HG. Thanks!
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    The concept of flattening frozen material is very interesting and some thing I can think about because I’ll bet I can make that useful with things like chopped ginger.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I'm intrigued by the idea of hydroponic herb gardens; fresh herbs seem to die a lingering death in my refrigerator. Drying/freezing might be the solution.

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    I bring my herb pots up close to my house for winter. Except for the fragile leaf ones (parsley, sage, cilantro) I'm able to have fresh all winter. I'm talking rosemary and thyme basically--they're > 7 years old. If I want mint, no problem. It's perennially growing out in my yard forever and apocalypse.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    I both dry and freeze herbs. I also salt basil. I dry herbs in lunch bags, keeps them from going so brown. I also dry parsley in the oven because it stays wonderfully green. The salted basil is a wonder midwinter. Simple to make put a layer of kosher salt in a jar. Put one or more not touching basil leaves on it. Cover completely with salt. Put in another layer. Continue until jar is full. Wonderful stuff. tastes of fresh basil and salt when dug out. I eke these into soups and stews in December - February when it seems that winter will never be gone.

    I freeze herb mixes based on parsley for savory, basil for Italian and cilantro for Mexican. I dry all of those too, parsley in the oven as I said. I salt basil.I also dry mixed basils (not Italian), summer savory, tarragon, thymes, mixed mints for tea, chamomile also for tea.

    I'll use what's needed through the summer, but it's a ritual that I go through and process most of the bagged herbs the day of the first real snowstorm. It makes me feel less like we'll starve or freeze. (Yes, that's irrational, I"m both from SoCal AND I have PTSD -- nuff 'said!)
    Last edited by NewGig; 11-6-20 at 3:58pm. Reason: correction

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I love fresh oregano but it is so invasive taking over my herb garden area. I had creeping thyme which is lovely as a flavouring but took over a large area so it is gone but will require aggressive weeding next spring as I am sure it will return.
    Happy plants are wonderful until they get too greedy for space.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    I froze chive flowers and have been adding them to soups with success.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    Dried sage to me is a different herb than fresh, I like it also but its different.
    I took a cooking class once with a nationally-known chef from India who claimed that every herb and spice offers eight different flavors -- raw whole, raw chopped/ground, dried whole, dried chopped/ground, toasted whole, toasted chopped/ground, sauteed whole, and sauteed chopped/ground. He passed around some spices in the various states to make his point. Very illustrative, and one reason why I do prepare flavoring agents like herbs and spices (and onions, garlic, chives, etc.) different ways depending on what I want them to do in the dish.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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