What To Do With Your Grocery Store Herbs
Written by: Joli Tripp
Have you ever spent $3.99 (or more) for a package of herbs at the grocery store, only to use one sprig of the herbs for a recipe (and I’m sure you spent even more if the herb was organic) and ultimately, end up tossing the rest?
No question that fresh herbs taste best, but unless you grow your own herbs, it can be a HUGE expense to buy them at the grocery store when you’re constantly buying a new package and throwing out the extra.
Here are 2 simple tricks to save those leftover herbs for future use.
Brown Paper Bag Method To Dry Herbs
1. Buy brown paper lunch bags from the grocery store and some rubber bands.
2. Cut your herbs in lengths no longer than about ¾ of the length of the bag.
3. Bring them inside and wash them (if necessary) and allow them to COMPLETELY dry on paper towels.
4. Discard any yellowed or diseased leaves.
5. Remove the lower leaves along the stem about an inch or so.
6. Bundle up each type of herb (about 4 to 6 branches per bundle) and wrap a rubber band around the stems very tightly. Herbs will shrink as they dry and you don’t want them falling out of the rubber band.
7. Place them in the paper bags leaves first (rubber-banded stems last).
8. Wrap another rubber band around the end of the bag (on top of where the stems are).
9. Punch or cut a few holes in the bag.
10. Write on the outside of the bag the name of the herb and the date you put it in there.
11. Hang them in a warm but dry place such as a pantry (I just tacked up a few small nails in the inside wall of my pantry).
12. Check them in about 2 weeks. Some herbs will dry faster than others.
13. Once dry, pull the leaves off the branches and store them in an airtight container. Glass jars are best, but I will admit that I use plastic baggies.
14. Be sure to label the containers and date them. Now you can enjoy your herb garden year round!
The herbs with the most moisture, such as basil, mint and dill, are the most difficult to dry. They tend to want to mold and rot while drying. You can put those herbs in the oven for 2-4 hours on less than 180 degrees to dry them.
Freezing Herbs In Oil Method
1. Wash the herbs and remove the leaves from the stems.
2. Dry them on paper towels or in a salad spinner.
3. Chop them, leave them in larger sprigs and leaves or even food process them if you desire.
4. Pack each cube of ice cube trays about 2/3 full of herbs.
5. Pour extra-virgin olive oil or melted, unsalted butter over the herbs until the herbs are covered completely.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
7. Remove the frozen cubes and store them in freezer containers or bags.
8. Be sure to label each container with the type of herb inside.
Pop out a cube whenever a recipe calls for that herb. Olive oil will turn opaque as it freezes. Just bring it back to room temperature and it will re-liquify.
In most cases, herbs are used in cooking sauces, so the additional olive oil is welcome. Perfect for making salad dressings, bread dips, soups, sauces, etc.
Note: Freezing herbs with water tends to change the flavor or may even cause freezer burn.
Joli Tripp is a wellness advocate, blogger, professional home stager, Realtor, wife and self-proclaimed foodie. She is passionate about making simple changes at the grocery store, at home and in life to attain abundant health.
She’s used her journey back to healthto inspire others to find the courage to do the same. She provides practical information about food, wellness, home and garden using natural solutions.
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