These tips will help you keep and use your herbs throughout the year by drying them or using them in other inventive ways.
Step 1: Air dry the herbs until they are crumbly Use twine to tie small batches of herbs and hang them in a cool, dry place until they are dry and crispy. Store them in air-tight containers until you are ready to use them.
TIP: Use one-third of the amount called for if you are substituting dried herbs for fresh.
Step 2: Dry herbs in an oven set to 180 degrees Place herbs on a cookie sheet in an oven set to 180 degrees, keep the oven door open, and let them dry for about four hours. When they are crispy, store them in air-tight containers.
Step 3: Make a seasoning salt Mix a variety of dried herbs to make a special seasoning salt. Freeze it in small batches until you are ready to use it.
TIP: Add dried herbs to a dish when the food is fully cooked and still hot. The steam will help rehydrate them and bring out more of their natural flavor.
Step 4: Freeze chopped herbs in ice cubes Chop herbs and place them in ice cube trays, fill the trays with water, and freeze. Add the herb ice cubes to a dish while you're cooking.
Step 5: Make herb-infused butter Combine chopped fresh herbs with butter. Freeze the butter in ice cube trays and add the cubes directly to a dish you're cooking.
Step 6: Make a paste Place 2 cups of herbs in a food processor with ⅓ cup olive oil and blend until you have a paste. Store the paste in a small container in the fridge or freezer.
TIP: Try different combinations of herbs in your ice cubes, butter cubes, and pastes. Create Italian season flavors by mixing basil, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
Step 7: Make herb-infused vinegar or olive oil Combine herbs with white, cider, or wine vinegar or olive oil in a tightly-sealed jar, and store in a cool, dry place for two weeks. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter.
FACT: Ancient Egyptians wrapped bodies in strips of linen soaked in lavender oil and asphalt to give the bodies a hard shell after drying in the sun.