These herb pictures were taken earlier this season, not too long after we planted our garden. If you could see them now, you would know that I’ve done a terrible job keeping them from going to seed and taking over. But one of the best things about an overgrown herb garden is that you never feel bad about using as much of it as you want. This year, we have been blessed (despite the drought) with two massive basil plants, enough mint to serve juleps to all of Louisville, and sage, thyme and rosemary enough for every roasted chicken in Paris. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But just a little.
I’ve been trying to come up with ways to cleverly keep these wonderful herbs in their tasty green state for use throughout the winter, but am coming to the harsh realization that their lively leaves will fade along with the heat of the summer. And for some reason it has been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I am still eating seasonably and savoring homegrown food, even when my herbs have been dried. But knowing that I tended them and loved them during the warm months and that my last stitch effort at preserving their flavor was to dry them, I’m sure, will change my mind.
Instead of following our regular Fresh 101 format, today I thought it would be nice to share the resources that I have found for preserving herbs, just in case you’re going through the same pre-winter herb anxiety as me. This is the perfect time to harvest herbs for winter use, as the plants have enough leaves to continue growing into the fall. The links at the end of this post should get you started!
First… a really simple way to add green herbs to any drink:
Chop your herbs into large pieces. I recommend basil and mint, although I’m sure thyme and rosemary would lend well to interesting flavor combinations too. Drop a few chopped leaves into each small well of an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and freeze. Once your herb ice cubes are frozen, pop them out and store them in a freezer bag. Add them to lemonade, cocktails, even water. I’ve already made a few trays and, even though I have fresh herbs in my garden right now, it’s hard not to use up the pre-made ice cubes because they’re so convenient!