How to preserve homegrown herbs

Growing your own herbs is a great way to save money and reduce waste; just think no more single use plastic packets!

Harvesting and using your fresh herbs is simple during the summer months but if you want to use them all year round you’ll need to find ways to store them.

These are my favourite ways to store fresh herbs that I’ve grown:

Drying Herbs

Drying herbs is very traditional and works really well with hard stemmed herbs such as Thyme, Bay Leaves, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage etc.

To dry your herbs take a small bunch and tie it up with string and hang the bunches somewhere warm and dry, we use our airing cupboard. 

It’s also possible to dry your herbs in a very low oven, you’ll need to spread them out in a single layer on a sheet and place in the oven.  The herbs should take about 1 hour on the lowest heat.

Once the herbs are fully dried store them in a glass container, old glass jars work well.  And don’t forget to label them!

Freezing Herbs

There are three ways you can freeze herbs:

Freeze tender herbs in ice

Herbs like basil, chives and dill can be stored in ice.  Chop the herbs or place whole leaves in an ice-cube tray, cover with water and freeze.  Once frozen transfer to an airtight container and store in freezer until you need to use them.

The frozen herbs will last 6 to 9 months once frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Freeze herbs in olive oil

A great way to freeze herbs to use in cooking is to freeze them in olive oil.  You may want to use a mix of herbs that you normally use together in your recipes to save time when cooking.

Place the chopped herbs in an ice-cube tray and pour the olive oil in until they are covered and freeze.  Once frozen transfer to an airtight container and store in freezer until you need to use them.

The frozen herbs will last 6 to 9 months once frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Freezing whole herbs

With hard stemmed herbs like rosemary and bay the best way to freeze them is whole.  Lay the herbs on a flat tray covered with baking paper and freeze.  Once frozen pop the herbs in an airtight container and store in the freezer. 

The frozen herbs will last up to12 months once frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Other Ways to Preserve Herbs

Make Pesto

If your Basil is anything like ours you will have lots to harvest and a great way to preserve it is to make it into a pesto.

Pesto is really easy to make:

You’ll Need:

  • 50g of pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50g of basil
  • 50g of Parmesan, finely grated
  • 120ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pestle & Mortar or blender

How To:

  • If you’re using a blender you can pop all the ingredients in apart from the oil.
  • Pulse the blender while slowly adding the oil until  everything is combined.
  • If you want to use a Pestle and Mortar grind the garlic and pine nuts into a paste.
  • Add the basil leaves and continue grinding
  • Next add the Parmesan and olive oil and grind until you have combine the ingredients into a paste.
  • Add salt to taste.

The Pesto can be store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.  Alternatively freeze the Pesto in an ice-cube tray.

The frozen Pesto will last up to 6 months once frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Herb Butter

Herb butter is super easy to make and you only need a couple of ingredients.

You’ll Need:

  • Butter
  • Finely chopped herbs
  • Salt

How To:

  • Place the butter in a bowl and leave to soften at room temperature.
  • Add the finely chopped herbs and mix together with a fork until fully combined.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Place the butter on a piece of baking paper and roll into a log shape.
  • Twist the ends of the log and place in the fridge until firm.
  • To use slice portions off and melt over meat or seafood or use to butter fresh homemade bread.

The butter can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for 6 to 9 months.

I hope this has given you some ideas for storing your fresh herbs so that you can use them all year round and save money and reduce waste

Written by 

Hi, I’m Frankie. This is my blog (Thoroughly Modern Grandma) about blending old fashioned values with modern technology, whilst trying to reduce our waste and be a little kinder to our Planet.

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