Herbology: Processing And Storing Fresh Kitchen Herbs

Everything is ready. Your kitchen herbs have found the right place, the right conditions, and are thriving. time to cook. Time for pesto, tomato sauce, and dried oregano. Learn how to cook, freeze, and dry herbs with our herbalism guide.

Process kitchen herbs

They release essential oils, give your dishes something special and take you to the different cuisines of the world: kitchen herbs. Caprese without basil? Mexican tacos without pico de gallo with cilantro? Indian curry without the right curry leaves? Doable, but simply less tasteful. Cooking with fresh herbs is the essence of aromatic cuisine. The basic requirement is actually just to know which herbs you process – and how.

You can use basil and wild garlic for pesto, for example, or use parsley as a basis for herb pastes such as chimichurri or gremolata. You can also cook a sauce with herbs, such as the famous Frankfurt green sauce that Goethe was so fond of – and that’s not all. Be inspired by our herbal recipes. By the way: You can usually use the stems for cooking. With coriander, for example, they carry a particularly large amount of aroma. For the tomato sauce, you can also gently sweat the basil stalks together with the garlic and then cook them. However, they should be firm and not woody.

Herb processing – before or after cooking?

  • It is fundamentally important that you do not mix fresh herbs with your sauces, dips and salsas for the entire cooking process. Too much heat robs them of flavor. Therefore, only add basil to your tomato sauce just before serving, or only add parsley to the fried potatoes at the end. For meat and fish, fresh herbs are more suitable for subsequent refinement than for marinating. Unless you fill a fish.
  • You can also add some firmer types of herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, to flavor your sauces, roasters, and pans during the entire cooking process.
  • On the other hand, you can cook dried herbs. However, you should be careful when frying at high temperatures: Dried herbs will also burn.

Herb processing – drying properly

The herb can from the supermarket is not part of the obligatory program. You can also dry kitchen herbs yourself: first harvest them and then shake off the dust. Washing them would only prolong the drying process. The gentlest way is to let the air do the work. To do this, tie your herbs, which you have previously cut off long-stemmed, into small bundles using kitchen twine or a rubber band and hang them upside down. It can be warm, but not too hot. The sun should not hit your kitchen herbs directly either.

Our expert knows which herbs are particularly suitable for drying in addition to thyme, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and lovage. The process takes around four days.

The dehydrator is faster. It also works more gently than the oven, where your kitchen herbs always lose a little more of their aroma, but which is still suitable. “Three hours at 30 to 50 degrees” is the rule of thumb in the tube. Leave the oven door open a crack. Only use the microwave in exceptional cases.

Freeze herbs

If you don’t use herbs right away, you can of course freeze them. To do this, first, wash them, remove brown spots and chop everything coarsely to finely. They then go into the freezer in a suitable container. In principle, you can freeze all herbs. However, some are better than others because they hardly lose their flavor even in the freezer. These include parsley, dill, and coriander. Wild garlic and basil are also good. Rosemary, sage, or oregano, on the other hand, is better dried for preservation.

Kitchen herbs: storage

If you don’t grow your herbs in pots, borders, or window boxes, you may only buy a bunch or two, but you won’t need all the basil or coriander leaves for a relaxed Saturday dinner. Of course, you don’t want to waste anything:

  • If you are planning the next cooking action soon, you can put the herbs in a container filled with water for storage. Parsley and other varieties keep there for several days.
  • You can also store fresh herbs in the refrigerator. To do this, wrap them in a damp cloth and place them in a suitable container, such as a lockable lunch box, for several days.
  • If you want to preserve herbs, you can dry them as described above. If you simply use the air for this, you have to hang up your kitchen herbs.
  • If they go into the freezer instead, you can store fresh herbs for up to a year. In addition to the correct preparation, a suitable herb storage container is important. A trick: You put the herbs in an ice cube tray and fill it with water. You can add the resulting cubes to your sauces or soups at any time.

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