Preserve your herbs for the winter

Drying herbsOne of the simplest plants to grow are the herbs. You can easily grow these both in pots on your balcony and in your garden outdoors. Herbs seems to thrive without much care at all. They don’t need a lot of water, and they prefer soil that’s rather poor. And – the more you harvest the more they grow!

Many of our herbs are perennials so you only have to plant them once and they will come back year after year. Herbs are often the first plants you can start harvesting of in the spring, and they just keep going well into the autumn. Not all herbs are perennial in all climates. In a colder climate, like Norway where I live and garden, a herb like basil will not survive the winter. So if you only want perennial herbs, you have to make sure they are hardy to your climate zone.

Since we don’t eat large amounts of herbs, but mainly use them to spice our food, we most often will not be able to eat all we grow. This leaves us with a surplus that we can preserve for the colder winter months.

There are many ways to preserve herbs. I think the easiest way is to dry them. I make small bouquets of five to seven twigs and hang them upside down in my kitchen. It’s also possible to dry them in the baking oven at a low temperature.

When the herbs are completely dry, I crumble them in to smaller pieces between my fingers, and place them in glass containers. I keep filling the same containers during the entire season, so I get a full glass of each herb I grow. Then I place the glasses in a dark cabinet and I have homegrown herbs for the entire winter!

You can do much more with herbs than just dry them, but this is a good starting point when you first begin to preserve your herbs. If you want to try something a little different but not difficult, you can make herbal salts. To do this you crush your dried herbs in a mortar and mix with salt. You can combine several different herbs and create unique tasting salts that will definitely be a success at the dinner table!

Here you can also read about some herbs you can easily grow on your balcony.

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