It is almost time that we will have to protect our herb patio planters from the first frosts... (sigh). How to preserve some of the summer freshness?
I try to bring my herb containers in the house so I can still enjoy fresh herbs but I have varying success with that. It depends on the size of the container and the plant. I can usually keep them going for another month or two but the shock of bringing them in to the lower light levels and the dry heat once the furnace comes on full tilt means they get weaker and more straggly and I finally have to admit defeat.
So - I try different ways to extend the usefulness of my fresh herbs. Many people and articles will step you through how to harvest them and hang them in a dark, well ventilated place to dry. My dark places don't tend to be that well ventilated, or that dark.
I find the easiest way for me to keep that hit of fresh herbs going is to freeze them into cubes with butter or olive oil. Think of how you normally would cook with each herb and decide on butter vs olive oil. For example - basil is typically used with olive oil in cooking, sage is most often used with butter. There are no rules - go with whatever your cooking instincts tell you.
I use 1 teaspoon of minced fresh herbs per Tablespoon of butter or oil. That way when you are going to use them you know how much oil and seasoning you are working with.
For the herb butter I let the butter come to room temperature so I can cream the minced herbs into it in a small dish. Then I take 1 tablespoon and place it in an ice cube tray well.
For the olive oil, I pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the ice cube tray well directly and then sprinkle in and submerge the teaspoon of herbs.
You will see in the photos that I mark on the ice cube tray with a Sharpie pen which herbs are which. Take my word for it- once the herbs are diced and coated with oil or butter it is a real test to figure out which is which!
Freeze the trays and then you can pop the individual portions out to store them in a freezer resealable bag. Mark on the bag which herb it in there as well so there is no guessing when you go to use them!
You can use them in sauces, sautéeing, as a rub for your holiday turkey, in pasta or anywhere a recipe calls for seasoning and a fat.