Ways to Preserve Herbs

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OK it’s Autumn here on my little patch of heaven. Time to preserve those herbs!
Homemade herbal vinegar
Fun and can be used in most recipes calling for plain vinegar. Herbal vinegars add layers of flavor. You can use 1 herb or several. Think of the flavor profiles you like and go from there. Makes a lovely kitchen gift. 
Ingredients
Up to 2 cups clean, dry fresh herbs, stems and leaves
4 cups favorite vinegar (I like white wine vinegar since this mellow vinegar allows the color and flavor of herbs to come through, but just about any vinegar can be used. If using cider or clear vinegar, use one that is 5% acid).
Instructions
Place herbs in glass jar. Smoosh down a bit with a spoon to release flavorful oils.
Pour vinegar over.
Let sit on counter for a week or so. The vinegar is ready when you open the jar and aroma wafts out. Herbs lose some color to the vinegar.
Or place the vinegar outside in a sunny area. It will infuse pretty quick – a couple of days should do it.
Strain and bottle. Insert sprigs of herb if you like. 
Store away from heat and light.
Herbal Bath Salts

Master Recipe for Bath Salts
The skin is the body’s largest organ, so make it healthy and glowing by adding bath salts to your tub water.

I developed this recipe as my “signature” bath salt recipe.  Epsom salt is soothing to sore muscles and is found in the pharmacy aisle.  Sea or Himalayan salt  adds minerals, stimulates circulation, hydrates and detoxifies the skin. I like to add baking soda for its alkalizing qualities, as well.

Recipe can be made in big batches.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup sea or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Instructions

  1. Simply  mix all together and then package as desired.
  2. Use 1/4 cup per bath.

Good Add Ins

  • 1/4 cup dry goat milk for its ultra soothing and moisturizing qualities
  • 2 tablespoons regular oats, run through a blender for exfoliating qualities
  • Vitamins E tablets for antioxidant qualities and to relieve scrapes and cuts. Pack these separately.
  • 1/4 cup dried bath herbs of your choice, or a few drops essential bath oil of your choice.

Bath Herbs: make it personal

If you do add herbs, pack salts with a muslin or silk bag.

  • Aching muscles and joints: Bay, juniper berries, oregano
  • Cold and flu: Eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon balm, thyme
  • Soothing:  Chamomile, comfrey, violets, lavender
  • Stimulating: Basil, fennel, rosemary, savory, lemon verbena

 

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Preserving herbs by drying
Hang in bunches with enough air circulating between stems.
You can also hang in paper bags. 
Or strip tender leaves like basil and dill from stems. 
Lay in single layer on cooling racks or on cloth towels to dry.
Dry away from light and moisture. 
When leaves crinkle between your palms, herbs are dry. 
Store dry herbs in containers away from light, heat and moisture.
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Preserving herbs by freezing
You can freeze sprigs/leaves of herbs in baggies.
Lay flat and be careful not to crush.
Chop leaves directly from bag in frozen state.
Freeze in water
Wonderful for beverages. Use ice cube trays, muffin tins, etc.
Place finely chopped herb leaves in tray or tin. Cover with thin layer of water. Freeze. Cover with another layer of water and freeze. This prevents the herbs from floating and drying out.
Remove ice cubes and pack them in containers.
Freeze in oil
Follow the same method. These are great bases for winter soups, stews and sauces since these sometimes call for an aromatic oil base. Use single herbs or your favorite combo.  
Tip
When frozen herbs thaw, they turn dark. No worries, just a heads up.

 

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