Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
An 8-Part Series on All Things Herbal in Your Cooking
Learn to harvest and use your herbal bounty. Make wonderful herb and spice blends, flavored oils, vinegars, and honey and many other items with this series.
Step-by-step instructions on making your own herb/spice blends are included as well as over 75 recipes for Herb/Spice & Seasoning Blends from Around the World.
From your own herb/spice blends to rubs and marinades for grilling to dry seasoning packets and instant gravies, you can make all this—and more—in your own kitchen. Free yourself from those last-minute runs to the grocery store. Stop worrying about added preservatives, high sodium, high carbs, and gluten in your blends and seasonings. Have all the “so-called convenience” of those much-advertised products that you have come to rely on for fast meals. When you see just how quick and easy it is to make your own—and how much tastier they are—you will never again go back to those high-priced packets and bottles.
Part 1 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
It is very easy to have your own garden from which you can harvest your own herbs. Most herbs are very easy to grow and give enjoyment while they are growing as well as after harvest in your meals.
Nothing brings greater pleasure than being able to supply our own needs from Nature’s storehouse. There is so much to enjoy during the course of the season. The beautiful sights of the gardens, the wonderful aromas and different textures of the various plants, and even the lulling sound of droning bees busily working the flowers is an enjoyable pleasure of all herb gardens. Herbs ensure good pollination of your vegetable and flower gardens as they attract so many of the natural pollinators. They also draw hummingbirds, butterflies and a wide assortment of birds that delight us with their songs and colors.
Part 2 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
It is possible to freeze herbs. In many cases, this is done to quickly keep a glut of herbs when there isn’t time to do anything more time-consuming because few herbs survive the freezing process in a presentable form, although most will keep their flavor profile.
The freezing method is nice for culinary herbs since it is easy and quick. This works for just about all leafy herbs, but especially well for lighter tasting herbs that you might use at the end of a dish to perk it up such as: basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, and mint. Other good candidates for freezing include fennel and dill tips, tarragon, and chervil.
Part 3 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
Drying is probably the most common way to keep herbs. Drying herbs is an economically savvy food preservation strategy, because dried herbs and teas demand high prices at the grocery store.
Your own dried herbs will taste better than store-bought because they’ll be newer and thus more pungent. If you grow your own herbs, you can also choose the tastiest varieties. AND even better, no preservatives!
Part 4 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
Created thousands of years ago by our herbal ancestors, liquid extracts are still a favorite culinary and medicinal preparation today. Among the advantages of herbal extracts is their ability to preserve the active constituents in plants, their long shelf life, and almost immediate effect. Extracts can be easily added to cooking, baking, water, tea, or juice.Both Alcohol and Alcohol-FREE preparations are described.
Part 5 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
Flavored vinegars garnished with sprigs of herbs, spices, flowers, or berries add excitement to special dishes with their tantalizing flavors. Infused vinegars are affordable, creative, and tasty selections for gift-giving. With so many holidays coming up over the next few months, you may want to consider whipping up one of these tart and tangy brews for your nearest and dearest. They’re also incredibly handy as last-minute “I need a gift, now!” items, for occasions like house-warming parties or host/hostess gifts. A bit of twine, raffia or ribbon and a tag are all that’s needed to dress up your infused vinegars.
Part 6 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
Herbs are plants that are valued for their sweet, medicinal, aromatic, or savory qualities, making tea a tasty part of any daily ritual. A fresh tea made from fresh herbs captures between 50% and 90% of the effective ingredients of the plant. When boiling water is poured over herbs, the plant’s soluble organic compounds are easily broken down. The resulting fragrances are an indication of the herb’s inherent qualities. Because you drink with your eyes and nose as well as your palate, you want your tea to consist of flavors that are appealing and complex, complement each other AND your taste buds.
Part 7 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
Honey is a delicious and beneficial natural sweetener that can be added to enhance a variety of foods and dishes. Its mild flavor profile can also easily take on the delightful and welcome flavor of most dried herbs, spices, flowers, and fruit through the process of infusion. Infusing honey is a great way to add enhanced taste to honey, as well as other health benefits. Not only is it a simple and delicious way to enjoy the medicinal goodness of herbs, but honey itself has antibacterial and soothing properties.
Part 8 of the Series, Methods to Preserve Your Herbal Harvest
Learn how to safely make your own flavored oils. The research described here identifies the conditions necessary to prevent growth of the botulism bacteria when garlic and herbs are immersed in oil. Refrigeration of these infused oils is recommended for quality, but not required for safety. There is no safe, tested procedure for home canning these infused oils.
Making your own spice mixes is one of the easiest kitchen tasks you will do. I have sometimes gotten in the rut of making just what I needed when I am cooking. This is inconvenient and tags extra time onto dinner prep. I now mix up a whole batch at once; label the top with the ingredients needed to fill the jar as well as with the amounts needed in recipes I make often. I have a “Blend Day” once a month or so and fill up all my jars, re-stocking my drawers and allowing me the freedom to create my meals at will. This is my procedure for re-stocking my blends.
Whether you grow your own or buy in bulk, making your own herb/spice and seasoning blends is so easy! Learn the benefits and how to make any blend yourself—or use our recipes. You can even make your own garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, and mushroom powders.
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