What to do with so many herbs?

It’s about to storm here at the Hideaway, if you don’t know yet we call our home The Osburn Hideaway and Hideaway for short.  I am really upset that we didn’t get to the garden in time to get green beans as I would rather be doing that crummy inside work during a storm that later this after noon.  So the air was cooling off a bit I decided to take a little trip to the herb garden.  Now I went and busted up my ankle 2 weeks ago so my ability to handle the uneven terrain and the wet grass has been difficult so I was a bit of a surprise to see so much going on out there.  I promptly gave a few of them a trim so I could start drying for the winter. 

Here are what I thought were GENIUS! ideas for creating some long term storage of your herbs. 

Option 1 PESTO!!!

I already have a post about making pesto.  I have found that it freezes and thaws perfectly.   This year I will experiment with other types of pesto. I took to work this week about 10 oz of pesto that had been frozen and a loaf of bread from Publix (I just didn’t have time to bake). Everyone raved it was amazing, can you imagine if I made some fresh and took in. If you like pesto pizza try making the pesto dry (use less oil) and keep it separate from the rest of your pesto. It holds up better on your pizza.

This is what it looked like near the end of the season last year.

Option 2  – HERB BUTTER!!!

Herb Butter.  When making some herb butter for dinner one night I said to myself “What if I put this in the little dishes and freeze it?” It worked out really well!!!  I started with some roasted garlic, I get my roasted garlic in 2 ways the first is to make it fresh while roasting tomatoes for  Awesome Sauce or I generally have some in the freezer ready to go.  You could roast some fresh but I try to not waste too much energy. In the small bowl of my food processor, which sits out on the counter May – November I place the roasted garlic and what ever herbs I was trying to consume.  Basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary all make for some tasty butter.  Pulse a few times to get them chopped up then add your butter, a dash of salt and pepper if you desire and pulse again.  I place the butter in 2 oz disposable cups with lids and stack in the freezer until solid.  Dump them in a labeled zipper freezer bag and you are in business.  2 oz cups works best as it is just the two of us, you could use larger cups or reusable cups if desired. It was discovered that storing the butter in the fridge for a long period you will eventually get mold.  The greatest part is that the herbs taste fresh and retain their color. Making garlic toast has never been easier. 

Here is a cute option, use a small scoop to make restaurant style butter pats for steak. Pop them on the steak frozen and serve.


Option 3 – Dried Herbs

There is nothing more fun then rubbing whole leaves of your own dried herbs to add to what ever you are cooking.  I use them mostly in dipping oil for bread because this year I started drying them way too late.  I just use the dehydrator for a few hours and end up with beautiful green leaves.  I put used to put them in little spice jars but that was never held enough.  Last year I used canning jars to store them.  If you have time, patience and a place to go with them another great drying option is to bind them together with a rubber band, twine (I even use binder clips) and hang them somewhere to dry. 


Option 4 – Herb/Garlic Herb Cream cheese

Just like the butter add your favorite mixture of herbs and garlic (roasted or not) to softened cream cheese and your toasted bagels become a savory delight.  I freeze them in the same 2oz cups.  The cost of flavored cream cheese is, well STUPID!  This option for your herbs is a huge cost savings and since it is frozen in small containers thawing them takes no time at all. 

Option 5 – Fresh whole Herb ice cubes

I know it sounds totally weird but the herbs come out of the ice cubes like nothing ever happened.  Now you can’t go thawing and chopping or anything, but adding cubes of hole herbs to sauces, stocks and soups seems like a great idea!  This fall/winter I am hoping to create enough stocks to stop buying cans at the store.  Now that I have a pressure caner I can get them out of the freezer and on to a shelf.  I may try freezing some herbs in “bunches” designed for this purpose.  I will keep you posted.

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