Store aromatic herbs for the winter

Discussion in 'Herbs for the Kitchen' started by Arlette, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    Part one

    Since our aromatic friends are in full bloom I thought of collecting some news about their conservation for having them available during the winter.

    After purchasing or harvesting, the herbs of more general consumption are usually kept for about a week in a refrigerator wrapped in damp paper and placed in a plastic bag. To keep them longer, up to two or three weeks, you can place the herb bouquet in a glass with 2-3 cm of water by covering the top with a plastic bag held by an elastic band.

    But storing them longer for use in winter is a little more complex. There are several methods of doing this.

    First of all, the herbs to be preserved must be collected in the morning when the sun has dried the night humidity but it is not yet strong, before flowering except for oregano, thyme and marjoram and lavender which must be collected in full bloom.

    There are several ways to dry aromatic herbs which must first be checked to eliminate all the wasted leaves.

    Drying for exposure to the air - The bunches of herbs are placed (not too large to facilitate the circulation of air inside), tightly tied, hanging upside down and covered with paper or non-woven fabric left open at the bottom of hooks placed high in dark, ventilated rooms or outdoors sheltered from the sun, withdrawing them at night to avoid humidity.

    This method is suitable for plants that have thick leaves and long stems such as bay leaf, dill, etc.

    This is my personal home made dryer:
    Essiccatoio personale.jpg

    Sometimes herb bouquets are hung in the kitchen to create a rustic atmosphere but it is not recommended as the cooking vapors prevent proper drying and storage.

    Herbs can also be dried in the air using ready-made drying trays (there are also electric ones) or easy to make at home
    https://cdn.ultimenotizieflash.com/...164922/Schermata-2016-11-23-alle-14.33.33.png

    which can also be used for other foods (fruit, vegetables, fresh pasta .... .) and flowers.
    https://proudobreniya.ru/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/vkusnye-sochnye-ovoshhi.jpg

    https://www.nutrizionismi.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Dried-Fruit-and-IBS.jpg

    fiori essiccati (2).png


    For the herbs whose seeds are to be preserved (coriander, fennel, dill, cumin) it will be necessary to collect the capsules after the flowers have dried and place them in a gauze or paper bag and wait for the seeds to fall to the bottom. The seeds will also be kept in hermetically sealed glass jars with a content identification label.

    In any case, once dried, herbs and seeds are kept in hermetically sealed glass jars in the dark, using them within the year.

    Drying in the home oven - Take healthy herbs and clean them thoroughly. Wrap them in a linen napkin and put them in boiling water for a minute. Put them to drain completely and spread them out, restoring them to the shape lost in the previous operations, on a grill that allows the air to circulate and which must be placed in the oven (which must remain open). The temperature must not exceed 40 ° at risk of burning the herbs. The time, of course, depends on the type of grass and it is good to check the drying and, where necessary, extend the stay in the oven.

    For parsley I read on a site some time ago that the procedure is different but, honestly, I confess that I have not tested it. The sprigs are collected in a bunch that blanches for a minute like other herbs. It rests then on aluminum foil spread on the baking tray already hot at 200 ° for 1 minute. They are removed from the oven which is lowered to a degree of 115 °. Parsley is put back into the oven until completely dry.

    Once dried, the herbs are kept in airtight glass jars in the dark. Use them within the year of preparation.

    Drying in the microwave - Clean the herbs very well with a cloth (do not wash them, washing could spoil them or delay drying). Finely chop them, cover a microwave-safe dish with a sheet of uncoated kitchen paper and arrange the chopped herbs on them with an additional sheet of kitchen paper.

    Place the dish in the microwave and let it go for 1 minute (which will be enough for most herbs) at maximum power, check the drying status and if not yet obtained, turn the leaves over, put them between the two sheets of kitchen paper and let them go for another 30 seconds and this until the process is finished and the leaves appear fragile and crumble easily. Extract the chopped herbs, let it cool and place it in perfectly clean and dry hermetically sealed glass jars. Label the containers indicating the contents and the drying date and store them in a dark and dry place. Use them within the year of preparation.

    Check that there is no slight condensation in the jars.

    The aromatic herbs that are best maintained with drying are: basil, dill, mint, tarragon, fennel, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, sage.


    There are other methods of home herb conservation (freezing in oil, in vinegar, in salt, in butter ....) but I stop here because the discussion is long and I don't know if there is interest or if it falls within the topics to be treated in the Forum.

    In the latter case, please moderators to delete the thread, thank you!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
    Acerholic likes this.
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @Arlette, an excellent thread Arlette, definatly 'not' worth deleting.
    Very informative.
     
  3. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    @Acerholic Thank you! Does that mean I can go on or will I stop here?
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    @Arlette, add as much as you like Arlette, I am certain people will find it very interesting indeed.
     
  5. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock New Member

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    I certainly am interested in this topic! We have a yard full of herbs and only little knowledge of preserving for "after the season"
     
  6. Arlette

    Arlette Active Member

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    I am passionate about aromatic herbs and I use them daily in the kitchen (and on the porch in the evening the mint in the very cold Mojito that refreshes us after these days of hellish heat !!!! lol).
    Moreover, a good use of aromatic herbs allows you to salt the food less.
    In addition, there are aromatic herbs that never cease to amaze researchers.
    In addition to being proven by now that they multiply the antioxidant content of the vegetables to which they are added, according to a new study by the Department of Nutrition Sciences of the University of Illinois they would also be able to fight type 2 diabetes as much as better than drugs, since they have no side effects.
    The researchers evaluated four different herbs, both in the fresh and dried version, to test their ability to interfere with a diabetes-related enzyme, as do some drugs for the disease. It emerged that fresh herbs contain more polyphenols and flavonoids than equivalent dry herbs, but also that this does not affect the concentration of active substances necessary to inhibit the enzyme. Dried plants of Greek oregano, Mexican oregano and rosemary have proven to be more effective against type 2 diabetes than fresh ones.
    Pharmacologists from the University of Montpellier, France, recently discovered that burdock extract also counteracts hyperglycemia; Iranian researchers from Mashhad University of Medical Science have instead demonstrated the effectiveness of cinnamon in controlling blood glucose levels, going to confirm previous studies on the subject.
    Of course, before these studies take the form of targeted and effective remedies, it will take time but the stage to which they have already reached makes these fragrant vegetable friends love even more.
     

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