4 Ways to Get the Most from Fresh Herbs

From basil to rosemary to coriander and everything in between, fresh herbs are like fragrant treasures that add depth and complexity to dishes, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. They are fantastic to have in the garden, attracting beneficial pollinators to vegetable plants, adding visual interest and filling the air with sweet scents.

At the same time, herbs can be a fickle lot, and you need to know how to get the best out of them. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, our herb tips will help you make the most of your harvest, so you can infuse every meal with the essence of homegrown goodness.

Preparing Fresh Herbs

Cutting up and preparing herbs is always a fiddly job, which makes getting a dinner with fresh ingredients on the table slower on a busy worknight. But there is an easier way!

To strip herbs quickly, all you need is a standard kitchen box grater like the one above. Twist the tip leaves together, and push the whole stem through a single grater hole.

It literally takes just a few seconds to strip the best leaves from a stem- so much better than pulling them off one by one! You might be able to involve children, too, as there are no knives used.

Fresh Fridge Storage

While you can always dehydrate your herbs (I certainly do), sometimes fresh herbs are what you want. There is always debate around herb storage, and whether they should be washed or not prior to refrigeration. On the one hand, excess moisture makes them deteriorate more quickly, yet at the same time, if left unwashed, then bacteria can cause early decay. I suggest that washing and carefully drying fresh herbs is best, followed by refrigeration. If you have a salad spinner and paper towels, this will make the job easier.

Once washed and dried, trim the ends of the stems with a clean straight cut, and place the herbs in a lidded container of adequate height. Pour a little water in the bottom and seal the container. This allows the herb stems to draw in water and keep the leaves plump, plus it prevents contact with a refrigerators’ moist air. Herbs can keep up to 3 weeks this way, and you can prolong their life even further by trimming the stems every day or two.

Freezing

Freezing some herb-y meal starters is a fantastic way to preserve some fresh herbs when you have some time up your sleeve. It helps make quick work of getting dinner on the go, which is always helpful on those busy weeknights.

These frozen oil & spice cubes are quick to make and even quicker to use, and are particularly well-suited to soft herbs such as coriander and parsley. All you need to do is pour some herbs, and (optionally) some spices of your choice together in ice cube trays and freeze them overnight. You can include other ingredients you use frequently too. Things like garlic, dried chilli, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper will all freeze into these cubes perfectly well, so you can add in whatever you like.

Great for when you’re busy or tired but need to cook, grab a couple from the freezer when you need them then throw them in the pan to heat while you prep your fresh ingredients. It saves time in the cooking and is a great way to preserve some seasonal herbs.

Make Herb Salt

Flavoured salts are a great way to give an extra boost to recipes or finished dishes without adding extra calories or fat. Even better, making your own is super-easy: all it takes is some salt, fresh herbs from your garden, & a little time. The result is a fragrant blend that is far better than anything you can buy in a supermarket.

Our herb salt is super-easy to make, and only requires a food processor or blender. In a nutshell, you take a bag of salt plus any herb or herbs of your choice and blitz them together. You then spread the mixture out on a baking tray and dry it in the oven on a low heat until dried. Decant it into a jar and it’s ready to use.

Herb salt takes just a few minutes to make (plus drying time), and is an excellent way to add herbs and extra flavour into your cooking while saving you time. You can find our detailed instructions on how to make it here.

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