Pots of fragrant herbs filling a window shelf or balcony, or scattered throughout your garden, are one of those cherished summer highlights that you wish would never end. Is it possible to extend the pleasure of summery herbal scents and flavours for a few months longer? We think it is, and in today’s blog we reveal how you can quickly conjure up some culinary treats that will keep the flavours of summer with you – all using your delicious homegrown herbs.
Oil that’s infused with the clean, punchy flavours of rosemary, thyme or tarragon couldn’t be easier to make at home: simply add the herbs of your choice to a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and allow to steep for 4-6 weeks. The essential oils within the herbs impart flavour to the oil so that you end up with delicious aromatic herb oil which keeps for a long time.
Salt is a natural preservative, and herb salt can easily be prepared at home. The salt preserves the herb flavours, and freshly prepared herb salt will keep for several months. You can combine whatever herbs you like, just chop them finely, mix them one-third to two with salt and, after leaving to dry a little, store in a stoppered container.
Fresh herb pesto
What could be a more delicious summer meal than spaghetti with fresh pesto Genovese? The fresh herb pesto is oh-so-simply made from crushed and seasoned basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil (and, if you like a little heat, you can even add some fresh chillies!). It’s a perfect summer dish that’s quick to prepare and tastes heavenly!
Drying freshly harvested summer herbs is an easy way to preserve them for use in the autumn and winter months that lie ahead. For a dried herb bundle: gather and bunch your herbs, tie the stems together, and hang upside down in a well-ventilated room to dry. Make sure the herbs are thoroughly dried, right through to the middle, before storing so that you won’t get any mould growth.
So you see, summer’s not over ‘til it’s over and you don’t have to immediately turn to buying in herbs from the supermarket – you can keep on enjoying the taste of your very own summer herbs. And, by creatively preserving your homegrown herbs, not only can you add a new taste dimension to your winter cuisine, but you can also save money!
Keep your newly picked herbs fresh for longer
If you don’t want to use your newly harvested herbs straight away, yet want to keep them fresh, they must be stored in a refrigerator. In a traditional refrigerator compartment, herbs will keep fresh for six days but, in a Liebherr BioFresh compartment, they will maintain their freshness for up to thirteen days. If you don’t want to process your herbs for some time, they can easily be frozen for future use too.
Liebherr’s herb and berry compartment allows you to freeze herbs perfectly; they will not stick together during freezing so they can be easily portioned and stored once frozen. In addition, the shape and appearance of delicate herbs, such as basil or nasturtium, is protected. Our tip: It’s a great idea to freeze mint leaves (chopped or whole) in a little water as ice cubes. In this way, you have a great instant ingredient for soups and sauces, or you can impress your guests by slipping a few cubes into their Hugo cocktail or Pimms.
What experiences have you had cooking with and preserving herbs? And, what treats have you conjured up with herbs to tantalise the taste buds? Please let us know! Use the comment function below this post or start/join in discussions with us on Facebook.