Imagine the investment you have done to ensure that your crops are correctly tendered and therefore highly productive. Then, in two to three days, you lose all your harvest, merely out of ignorance on the proper mechanisms on preserving your herbs. Here are natural ways that you can use to maintain the value, flavor and nutrient content of your herbs as well as other drying methods.
- Air drying
This is the simplest and the most natural way. The aim of drying is to reduce the water content, which increases the rate of decomposition. Here the oil content is retained which is an excellent preservative. The leaves should be harvested and kept in an open place with free circulation of air and no direct sunlight. Direct sunlight destroys the nutrients. Cut the leaves together with the small stems and gather them in to small bunches. Secure the ends with a band and hand them upside down in the open space. These should be allowed to dry for three to four days. The herbs with small leaves should be placed on a flat dry surface, on either a rack or newspaper to dry.
- Use of microwave
Probably you are travelling and you do not have the luxury of time, you could consider a speedy alternative of drying these by using a microwave. Some areas are damp and therefore you need a dehydrator and here, the microwave comes handy. A paper towel is used to lay the leaves and another used to cover before you put in a microwave, then in 3 to 4 minutes, allow the leaves to dry ensure that they are crunchy to the touch. Allow the leaves to cool before you store them.
Basil, Parsley and such fleshy herbs lend to freezing. Blanch the leaves into boiling water for a few seconds and then immediately, put them in ice-cold water-this will stop them from cooking further. Dry the leaves using a dry towel and then keep them in freezer bags.
- Frozen blends
Blend the herbs with oil and pour the mixture into ice cubes trays to freeze. This is a method that is preferred especially when preserving leafy vegetables or those which will ultimately be fried for food.
- Oils and Vinegar
When herbs are soaked in oils, they exclude oxygen, which often leads to botulism. This is a method used to preserve herbs that would be used in a few weeks. Again, shredded herbs can be soaked in vinegar, this lowers the pH to about 4.6 and then this is poured in oil, which makes salad dressings.
- Storing dried herbs
Dried herbs can be stored in airtight jars where and well labeled. These should be kept in a dry place. The pots will help in maintaining the flavor and preserving for even a year.
Well, in order to plant and harvest the best herbs you need to follow Growing Herbs Tips.
The essence of preserving herbs is to grant them a longer life. This is a way of saving for a rainy day. You will need to keep your diet with little expense during fall or any other season after harvesting. Proper preservation techniques will guarantee you the best even after a year, and this could give you surplus that you can sell.