For my birthday this year my parents visited and my mother and father, the gardeners they are, left a most perfect parting gift: potted porch plants. Today is my mother’s birthday and while she’s far away from me, she left a little of herself after visiting this weekend. Fresh lilies sit on my bedside bureau. I was proud to show her a little bit of the garden cleverly stored away for the year from the heat. After the parsley grew rampant in the spring, it began to burn through the heat of the hundreds. A little bundle, dried and hung in the kitchen, left me freshly chopped and dried herbs to use until we cool down and I cross my fingers that the roots return new herbs.
While drying works well and is quite simple to do, there are plenty of other options for storing overabundant herbs. My mother, blessed with a large freezer in the basement, chops basil and fills ice cube trays with the chopped herb and a little olive oil, leaving her with basil cubes to add to sauces and soups. So too does she put her crock-pot to good work during the day, freezing jars of fresh tomato sauce or vegetable soup, adding a little summer joy to winter.
Without either of these luxuries, and with a kitchen wall that could use a little garden joy, the dried herbs work best for me. While the parsley did well to dry before the heat, our sage is almost the size of the bush, and would do fine to pick back and dry. I recommend cutting the fresh herbs from the root, bundling and letting dry hung in your kitchen for decoration. After a few weeks, when you’re ready to store, see what containers you can find in your recycling. I used a little test jar of olive oil, perfect in size for herbs, but don’t be afraid to use an old glass container that used to house cumin or paprika.
Freshly picked garden parsleyRibbon or string
Small container for storing
Cut fresh garden herbs near the root, leaving enough left in the pot for them to return next season. Gather herbs in a bundle, chopping stems to even if desired. String ribbon or string around the end of a bundle and hang against a wall to dry.
After a few weeks, once the herbs are devoid of water, chop herbs to desired coarseness. Store in empty herb or other small leftover container. Use for cooking as desired.