Faced with an overabundance of herbs at the moment and don't want to let all of that time and attention, not to mention investment, go to waste? The end of summer marks the end of the growth season for several herbs. Go out, harvest your herbs and have some fun!
Add to Meals
They can be used in roasting, sauces, salads, dressings, baked goods, and even desserts and beverages, so get creative. For example, oregano topped scrambled eggs, lavender pancakes, and ice cream with chocolate chips and fresh mint, or strawberries and basil are just a few ways to pair herbs with everyday foods.
Dry storing herbs is a great way to stock your spice rack with homegrown goodness. To dry herbs, bundle them in small batches secured with twist ties that can easily be adjusted, and hang upside-down covered (you can use brown paper sandwich bags) in a warm, dry spot. When the leaves are fully dried, typically 7-10 days, remove stems and store in jars for later use. Herbs can also be oven dried using low heat (approx. 180 degrees) for about two hours, however this does tend to leach a bit of the flavor so adjust accordingly when cooking with the oven dried version.
Infuse Oil and Vinegar
Fill a jar with your favorite herb or play with interesting combinations and then fill the jar with olive oil or vinegar to the top, ensuring all leaves are covered to prevent molding. Rosemary infused olive oil is a great base for sauces, dressings, and marinades while basil infused balsamic vinegar drizzled over grilled peaches is always a crowd pleaser..
Flavored Butters and Oil Cubes
To make the herb cubes, crush fresh herbs into ice trays and cover each section with olive oil. Freeze for a few hours and transfer to plastic bags to store frozen. The cubes can be used to sauté or add to recipes. Herbed butters are simple to make but add a lot of flavor and a touch of elegance to your menu. The easy route involves blending up fresh dill or rosemary or oregano with semi soft butter.