Food & Drink

Red Bank: How to Harvest, Store and Preserve your Herbs from the Garden

e8c7806df0ea3d3b7e80_Harvesting_basil_horiz_photo_credit_Bonnie_Plants.jpg
Credits: Bonnie Plants
e8c7806df0ea3d3b7e80_Harvesting_basil_horiz_photo_credit_Bonnie_Plants.jpg

Enjoy herbs all year round. Harvest herbs now for garden-fresh meals and preserve a few for the winter ahead.

Snip a few leaves or leaf-covered stems as needed. For the same intensity of flavor, you generally need two to three times more fresh herbs than dried except for Rosemary which has an equally strong flavor fresh or dried. Continue harvesting herbs as needed throughout the growing season. And don’t worry about harming the plant because regular harvesting encourages new growth which means more for you to harvest. Just be sure to leave enough foliage to maintain plant growth.

You can remove as much as fifty percent of the foliage from annual herb plants. This is about when the plants near their final height.  You can remove up to one third from established perennial plants that have been in the garden for several months or more. Harvest when the plant has formed buds, but before they open into flowers for the greatest concentration of flavor. This is the perfect time to harvest herbs you plan to preserve.

Sign Up for E-News

Use a pair of garden scissors or pruners for faster and easier harvesting. Make your cuts above a set of healthy leaves to keep the plants looking good. Then preserve the flavor and zest of herbs with proper storage and preservation.

Store thin leafy herbs like parsley and cilantro for up to a week in the refrigerator. Place in a jar of water, like a flower arrangement, and loosely cover with a plastic bag. Keep basil out of the fridge to avoid discoloration and others on the counter for quick and frequent use.

Wrap dry thicker-leafed herbs like sage and thyme in a paper towel, set inside a plastic bag and place in a warmer section of the refrigerator.

Freeze sprigs, whole leaves or chopped clean herbs on a cookie sheet. Or pack clean diced herbs in ice cube trays and fill the empty spaces with water. These are great for use in soups and stews. Store the frozen herbs and ice cubes in an airtight container or baggie in the freezer.

Or bundle several stems together, secure with a rubber band and use a spring type clothespin to hang them in a warm dry place to dry. Make your own drying rack from an old embroidery hoop, string and S hooks. Visit Bonnie Plants do-it-yourself Herb Drying Rack project (bonnieplants.com) for detailed instructions.

Get creative and use some of your herbs to make a fragrant edible wreath. Use fresh herbs that are flexible and easier to shape into a wreath. They will dry in place and can be harvested as needed.

Speed up the drying process in the microwave. Place herbs on a paper towel-covered paper plate. Start with one to two minutes on high. Repeat for 30 seconds as needed until the herbs are brittle.

Store dried herbs in an airtight plastic or glass jar.

Keep enjoying these fresh-from-the-garden flavors throughout the remainder of the season. And consider preserving a few for you, your family and friends to enjoy throughout the winter.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Red Bank

Quote of the Day!

July 6, 2018

Keeping a little ahead of conditions is one of the secrets of business; the trailer seldom goes far.    Charles M. Schwab

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

RBR Source Awards over $45,000 of Scholarship Money at Year-End Reception

July 16, 2018

Little Silver:  On May 30, The SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Service Program, honored its community partners and awarded over $45,000 in scholarship money to graduating high school seniors.

SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller explained, “Our mission is to remove all obstacles that impede the success of young people in our community.” With an emphasis on the overall optimal ...