How to Harvest & Preserve Your Herbs
The Herbivores Harvest will teach you exactly How to Harvest & Preserve Your Herbs at the end of summer herbs for year long use.
As the end of summer draws near I want to share with you how to save your herbs for next season, in this fun little post I call the Herbivores’ Harvest.
As you can see my Vertical Pallet Herb Garden really grew quite prolifically this season, and this is after several cuttings throughout the growing season. As the end of summer starts to draw near, I know that I need to start too thin back the bountiful harvest and cut the best of the best to preserve them for future use.
As you can see, I did not cut my herbs down to stumps, that was not the idea at all. Think of it as giving them a really good haircut for back to school, lol. I still want to continue to grow them for the remainder of the season and use them on an “as needed” basis. However, I do want to make sure that I do not lose all my lush beautiful crop that I have already grown in the heat.
I got to tell you, as I was cutting the fragrant beautiful herbs and placing them into my harvest bucket, I suddenly had a deep desire to do a table centerpiece out of herbs. I mean, just look at how lush and beautiful these are! Plus, some of the more exotic herbs, like the Thai Basil, have these beautiful purple flowers and when my pineapple sage blooms in the fall it will have gorgeous red blooms, so there is still some time.
So don’t count me out on this topic just yet, I may still just decided to do it. However, for now I want to focus on actually preserving them so I can used them in my family recipes over the holidays. Having these lush home grown organic herbs in the dead of winter is such a luxury. So for now let me show the next best thing. One day I will have a greenhouse, mark my words.
Okay, so first thing is you want to take your bucket of herbs inside and separate them into bunches. This is important for two reasons. One, so you can make make sure to clean them properly, discarding any sticks, brown pieces or even dead pieces.
Secondly, this will help you to assess how much you have of each type of herb. Once you have them pre-sorted, which will make your life easier once they are wet, and the unsavory pieces removed from each pile. You will want to wash each pile individually. I used a colander or strainer and fruit and vegetable cleaner. I personally like the organic FIT wash, as is removes any dirt, possible mites or bugs that could be hiding under the tender leaves. I usually do several sets at one time. Spraying the herbs then lightly tossing to coat and allowing the spray to sit on the leaves for several minutes then rinsing. Once the herbs have been washed, I allow them to air dry prior to batching for freezing, especially if they are going to be preserved in butter or oil. They must be completely dry. If they are slated for broth or water; you really do not have to worry about this step as much.
Thai Basil Pesto
- 4 cups Thai Basil
- 4 tbsp garlic ( 4 cloves) minced in olive oil
- 1 Lime
- 1 Tbls Lime Zest
- 4-6 Garden Thai Chili Pepers or Jalapeños
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup peanuts dry roasted- unsalted
- Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
For example, the Mint is the first item I processed since it will be frozen into large decorative ice cubes. This stores the mint perfectly for Mint Juleps or Mojitos, as well, and any other type of cocktail or punch. It also can be thawed down for making mint chutney or mint glaze; which is lovely on lamb or in a variety of desserts.
I also mentioned that you can preserve fresh herbs in broth. Another one of my favorites is a poultry mix which uses sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and oregano. The leaves are removed from the stems and placed into a smaller ice cube tray, as seen below.
Then the tray is filled with a organic chicken broth. This makes a perfect herb cube for Thanksgiving Day turkey prep, homemade chicken noodle soup or chicken pot pie bases. The size is also a perfect 1 Tablespoon measurement so it is easy to figure into recipes.
I also did an Italian mix in broth too; which lends itself nicely for a minestrone soup or Italian wedding soup. You can also add this mix of oregano, basil, and flat leaf parsley into a homemade spaghetti sauce too, and chicken broth would be just fine. Another one of my favorites is making specialty butter sauces, like this garlic chive butter sauce. It is super easy to make and is ideal for weeknight baked potatoes, easy bake garlic bread or even just to finish a steak.
While you are melting your butter down on the stove top, I find it takes 2 sticks of butter for one tray, again 1 tablespoon per cube, cut the herbs to place into the tray.Use a pair of kitchen shears to fine chop the chives into small pieces. The sheers make quick and easy work on this step. Once your butter is melted down stir in 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic. Then pour butter mixture into the ice cube trays. The final option for freezing is to store your herbs in olive oil. This works especially well for herbs you plan to you use in sautéing dishing or possibly in a stir fry. This particular combination is an Italian herb combination of oregano, basil, rosemary, and parsley; which would be great for sautéing a vegetable medley, roasting a whole chicken, or even toasting a savory cheese bread in the oven.
Traditional Italian Pesto
- 3 cups Fresh Basil
- 1/2 cup Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- 2/3 cup Pine Nuts toasted
- 4 tbsp Garlic (4 cloves) minced in olive oil
- 1/2 cup Oli+Ve Tuscan Olive Oil
- Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
Keep in mind the possibilities are endless and only limited by your own mind. In the tray below, I wanted to have a few specific herbs like just rosemary in olive oil for my rosemary chicken recipe. Also, a set of only Thai Basil in olive oil for my Basil fried rice. So I did a half cube tray for just a few of these specialty options.
Once you have your trays set, you want to freeze them overnight so they are nice and solid before you try to remove the cubes for storage.The following day your can remove the individual cubes and place into handy labeled storage bags. I recommend using a butter knife to help you lift the cubes out of the trays, after you crack them lose. The broth, water and oil all come out pretty easily, while the butter may require and little more edge scraping to get a clean release, or a warm water dip.
So now you can stock up your freezer and just grab a cube or two based on your recipe requirements. This will help to supplement your fresh herb supply through the winter months, when they may be harder to find or just not look as fresh at your local markets.Look how cute the super big mule cubes turned out for Juleps and Mojitos. Oh my, I have about a thousand party ideas just swirling around in my head with these beauties; and I have a ton more mint to freeze, so there will be no shortage on them either.
Derby Mint Juleps
- Wooden Muddler
- Craft Ice Mold (optional)
- 10 Fresh Mint Sprigs, leaves only muddled, save a sprig for garnish
- 1/2 oz Simple syrup 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water bring to a boil
- 2 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
- Place the mint leaves and sugar or simple syrup into your julep cup or old fashioned glass.
- Pour in the bourbon
- Garnish with a full mint sprig, after gently mashing the leaves to release the aromatic oils of the mint. Enjoy!
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Supplies to Harvest Herbs & Freeze:
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This is a magnificent idea! I’ve always dried my herbs for use over the winter months but this is even better. Thank you!
I absolutely LOVE this! The chive butter is such a brilliant idea and the cocktail cubes. This is going to save you so much money in the winter and will be so flavoursome in all your food. Brilliant!
Great step by step idea!
Thanks VP I am so glad you enjoyed the post. It is such a great way to preserve those glorious herbs for the winter months. I just love adding the broth based cubes into my soups and sauces it is so easy.
Oh my! What a green thumb you have. This is any cooks paradise.
What awesome ideas for prepping herbs for meals! The ice cube tray idea is genius. And the garlic chive butter–what a timesaver! Your meals have to taste amazing!
Such fab ideas to store herbs, I’m surely going to do these. Thanx for sharing
I absolutely love your herb garden! And you certainly got quite a bit out of it! Great idea to freeze the fresh herbs in olive oil as well!
I really respect the commitment you’ve made to do this and how kindly you’ve shared the whole process. I love those little baggies and definitely wouldn’t have had the foresight to do that. Great read.
This looks fantastic! And I’m loving the mint cubes which might go well in some lemonade
What a great idea. Your herb garden is amazing 💗
I love these ideas for saving herbs. I can’t wait to do this with my herbs this year. I’m so glad I came across this post!
Wow! What a great idea to save the herbs in the freezer like that! I would love access to fresh flavors like that. I love the detail you give for the process! Thank you! I am certainly going to try this.
I’ve been dying to try the ice tray trick! Thanks for the photos and tips!
All the very best for your future project(greenhouse). I am sure you are gonna have one.
What a great way to preserve all you hard work from the growing months.
Such a great idea we use a lot of fresh herbs in cooking at home I like the idea of them being so close by too.
I just planted my herb garden over the weekend and I can not wait to try this with all my spoils this year. Great post.
I just used the last of my frozen herbs time to plant some more! This wasa real time save over the winter months for soups and pasta dishes.
Love this idea I need to pin it for my herbs this year.
Hi, the How to Harvest your Herbs: The Herbivores Harvest article it is great and has helped me a lot. Let me share with you a product that helped sage! Be beautiful & happy!
Superb ideas, this would be so helpful. How nicely explained by keeping photos, this makes it so easy to understand. Thank you will certainly try this.
I love this post. This felt so uplifting in the current situation something so innocent and nice! I love the photos they are just stunning. I have never thought of making mint cubes, thanks for the idea!
Thanks for this post, I’ll be saving this for later! I have been wanting to start an herb garden. I have done the preserved herbs in evoo before but not broth will definitely have to try that.
I absolutely love this post! I am a HUGE fan of cooking with fresh herbs. If I had more sun in my yard, I’d be setting up an herb garden. For sure. But I will use your tips for preserving the fresh herbs that are so prevalent during the warm weather months. Thanks so much, Jen!
Wow, I love how comprehensive this is and your beautiful photos to match. I’m in awe of how you have the herbs arranged as they grow, gorgeous!
I love fresh herbs! Basil, parsley and dill are my favorite to grow.
I love how you preserve these herbs! I’ve done frozen mint before and it was awesome!
I love the ice cube tray idea. It is brilliant and I will def be trying it. Would make cooking just a little bit easier
I love this idea for planters! Great way to grow your own herbs