Fresh herbs and preservation
I love fresh herbs! I buy a few bundles a week at my farmers market, but most of it is always leftover from whatever recipe I'm following. I hate to waste it. Is there anyway to preserve them for later use?
Chop them finely, place in an ice cube tray, and add hot stock or consomme to cover. When cool, freeze, and you will have cubes of herbed stock for soup, stew, and sauce.
Another option is herb butter: chop finely, and combine with butter. Use in soups, omelets, fish, and sauces, or sandwiches.
Finally, make an herb vinegar. Just chop loosely and cram into a bottle of vinegar. Refrigerate.
to sustain the life- I wrap them in a damp paper towel and keep them in a plastic bag with a few slits cut in it & store in the cripser. I have found this will extend the life for about 4-6 extra days past just in a bag refrigeration or treating like flowers.
If it's an herb that does operata e in heavy rotation I chop and store in a freezer bag and pull it out and use as normal in recipes. This wouldn't really work for garnishes but fine in recipes. I have found this works great for mint and parsely.
Also a big nod to Jay's suggestion for the cubes is great for soups and stews!
Lay the extras out on paper towels, in your kitchen or dining room. Let dry totally ... until they are crisp. Remove from the stems and put them in a closed container.
I have done this with the usual, thyme, tarragon, sage, etc . but surprisingly it also works with basil.
A year later you will be surprised at how aromatic and vibrant these herbs are.
It really depends on the nature of the fresh herb and how long you want to store. Some do very well (i.e parsley) with a good crop to the stem end, placed upright with the stems in water and in the refrig; this extends them for a few good days. Others do well in the damp paper towel in a baggie. Others do well (like resiny stuff- rosemary thyme) prepare as you normall would for use (de stemmed) scattered across a cookie sheet, frozen then stored in a baggie. Those are great. Minced/chopped herbs can be frozen into stock or even neutral water, in the ice cube tray, but if you add the stock hot, you will have semi-cooked herbs. If you freeze into cold stock/water, please keep in mind normal food safety.
There is alot to be said for home drying your fresh herbs. Any fresh herb you dry, will be a heck of alot fresher than any dried herb you will buy.
With cilantro I put it in a cup of water and then wrap the leaves lightly with the bag it came in, lasts a long time this way.