Preserving Fresh Herbs
It seems that the end of summer is when my herb crop is at its peak. This is perfect for me because it means that I have plenty of my favorite seasonings to save to use through the fall and winter.
Just chop the leaves of your favorite herbs, such as basil or Italian parsley, and put 1 teaspoon into each cube of an ice tray and fill with water. After the cubes have frozen, pop them out and put them into a ziplock bag for easy storage. Then when you want to add the fresh taste of herbs to your favorite soup recipe, just drop in a few of these pre-measured cubes and let the flavor melt in.
Gather the herbs in the early morning, then wash them and pat them dry. Gently remove leaves from stems - herbs such as basil tend to bruise easily.
Place the leaves in a shallow basket for air-drying. If you're drying herbs with small leaves such as rosemary or oregano, it's best to use a holder with a tighter weave, like cheesecloth stretched over a frame.
Cover the leaves with newspaper to keep them from drying too quickly. The drying process usually takes three to four days. Once a day, shake and redistribute them so they dry more evenly.
Once all of the moisture is driven from the leaves, just crush or crumble them and then store them in labeled, airtight jars in a cool dark place.