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Freshly processed, the ingredients are most effective. The taste is usually most intense. Therefore, it is important that the herbs are processed quickly after harvesting. Contact with atmospheric oxygen often leads to a change in color. But worse is that the vitamins and other valuable substances are more or less lost. Not all herbs are suitable for all types of preservation. Some are easier to freeze, others better dry or insert. So before you start working, it's a good idea to be fully informed.
Dry herbsThe classic method of herbal preservation is drying. It is crucial that the water contained is removed slowly and gently. You have to expect about 3 weeks drying time until the herbs are properly dried, which is important so that it does not mold. Almost all herbs can be dried. Exceptions are cress, chives and borage. Basil is not ideal either. Mint, rosemary, thyme, savory, dill, marjoram, oregano, sage, lemon balm and lovage are very suitable. Almost all herbs are best harvested on a sunny day in the late morning hours. Then the water content is lowest and the concentration of essential oils highest. It is important not to wash the herbs. That should only happen in absolute exceptional cases. Spread washed shoots first and let them dry before further processing.
air dryingThe freshly cut herbs are bundled for air drying. It is crucial that the herbs are not too thick to bundle. The thicker and denser a bouquet of herbs is, the worse it dries. The bunches are hung in a dry, airy and warm place to dry, easily overhead. Solar radiation is to be avoided at all costs, because the sun and the associated high temperatures destroy flavor, color and ingredients. After drying, pluck the leaves from the stems and place in dark glass or ceramic containers with a tightly closed lid for storage. Alternatively, the leaves or flowers can also be plucked from the stems and dried without them. They are laid out on a grid covered with kitchen paper or gauze. This is set up dark, warm and well ventilated. Subsequently, the leaflets can be placed in the same containers.
dehydratorIf you have a dehydrator at home, you can also dry herbs in it. This succeeds very gently and does not last long. Ideal is a temperature of 30° C. The leaves or flowers of the herbs are plucked and distributed on the sieve plates. The device turns on and has to run for hours until the herbs are properly dried. You can tell that by touching them. The shoots or individual leaves rustle. The drying times are usually between 4 and 8 hours, depending on which and how many herbs are dried.
oven dryingIn the oven, the drying process takes only a fraction of the time of air drying. However, this process is not quite so gentle and some of the flavors and valuable ingredients is lost.
- Place herbs on the oven grate or sheet
- The shoots should not be too close together, preferably not at all
- Put in the oven
- Set to 35° C
- Clamp the wooden spoon in the oven door so that the water vapor can escape.
- It takes a few hours for the herbs to dry sufficiently
- This can be recognized by the fact that the herbs rustle.
Frozen herbs come closest to the taste and effect of the freshly harvested. Apart from the fact that the color and consistency remain largely the same, the herbs do not lose their aroma and the valuable ingredients in deep-freezing. If you like it very hygienic, you will like the method that the herbs are washed before processing. They can be frozen on the whole, but also crushed, at will and space. If you make the effort to crush the herbs before freezing, they can be recycled directly from the freezer. For me this is the most meaningful option. Parsley, chives, dill, basil, thyme, tarragon, chervil, mint, sage, coriander, lovage, fennel, marjoram, oregano, savory, thyme and lemon balm are ideal for freezing. Another benefit of freezing is that the herbs last up to a year.
- Wash herbs after harvesting and dab with a cloth
- Then pluck the leaves from the stems
- Either whole or chop small
- Then place in small containers that are suitable for the freezer and seal
- You can also add some water to the containers, but that does not necessarily have to be.
- Ice-cube containers are ideal for freezing portions that are appropriate for portioning.
- They are filled to two-thirds with herbs and one-third with water. The portion can be added directly into the food shortly before the end of the cooking process. It's not easy.
saltingHerbal salt is tasty and easy to make. It is important that the herbs are no longer moist, otherwise the salt forms lumps. The herbs are rocked very finely. Then you fill a layer of herbs and a layer of salt in a glass. It is based on a ratio of 5 parts of herbs to a portion of salt. Parsley, dill, cutlet, tarragon, lovage and chervil are well suited. Herbal mixtures are also great, e.g. from sage, marjoram, rosemary and thyme. Even better than chopping is to grate the herbs in a mortar. It is always worked with small portions, because the parts mix so easily with sea salt. The herbs so finely grind, with the cells of the leaves break open and escape the essential oils. Due to the moisture-absorbing property of the salt, this absorbs the aromas and preserves them. This prevents the flavors from evaporating. The finer the leaves or flowers are grated, the better the salt can take on the taste. In this type of preservation herbs and salt can be mixed in the ratio 1: 1.
- Chop the herbs very finely
- It is better to grate them in a mortar
- Mix with salt and store everything to allow the aromas to fully develop
Herbs are mainly pickled in vinegar or oil. You can preserve various herbs together and create creative mixtures. Olive oil is often used, especially for all Mediterranean herbs. Sunflower oil or rapeseed oil are tasteless. With them all herbs can be preserved. Often garlic is added to the herbs. Chili peppers are also popular. Who uses vinegar for preserving, should pay attention to a taste-neutral variety. Pickled in vinegar or oil, herbs are almost indefinitely stable, at least when kept dark and cool. It is important that only perfect quality is used. The herbs are best dried a little so that the moisture escapes and then placed in a light-tight sealable glass or bottle. Then add oil or vinegar until all parts are well covered. It makes sense to move the vessel daily, so shake it lightly, at least as long as the herbs are pulling. In oil, this should take about 4 weeks, rich in vinegar 2. Then it is filtered off.
- Wild garlic and basil, as well as rosemary, sage and savory are ideal for seasoning in oil.
- For vinegar fit thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, bay leaf, basil, dill, chervil and tarragon.