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Time to preserve herbs for winter

100_3262Fresh herbs ready  to be hung

Herbs drying

Herbs almost dried after 2 weeks

Herbs & flowers dried on screen

Herbs & flowers dried on screen



If you haven’t started already, get out there and harvest those herbs. Whether you dry them the old fashioned way, preserve them in vinegars or oils, or freeze them, you have to get out there now, before cold weather drives all the flavors from them. Here’s some tips:

Annual/Biennial Herbs:

These include basil, dill and parsley. Harvest early in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the heat of the day evaporates their oils into the air.

If possible, harvest herbs right before the flower opens, when their flavoring oils are at the peak. Herb flowers are edible.

Harvest herbs grown for seeds, like dill, caraway and fennel, when the seed pods change color from green to brown.

Perennial Herbs:

Stop harvesting about one month before the frost date.

Freeze herbs:

Chop herbs with a little water or oil and make a thick paste. Freeze in ice cube trays. Chop and freeze herbs by laying on a cookie sheet to freeze hard, then place in freezer containers. Use the same amount as you would fresh.


Tie stems into small bunches and hang upside down in a warm, dry, airy place out of the sun. They are ready when they crinkle between your palms.

Herbs are  dry when they are brittle and crumble easily. Separate them from their stems and store in air tight containers, again away from heat and light.

Label jars with name of herb and date. They will last about a year.

To use dried herbs in place of fresh: 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 1 tablespoon fresh.





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