May Floridians have beautiful herb gardens, so here are the best ways to utilize your plants for cooking.
Herbs can be used when fresh or dried. Their flavor comes from the essential oils they contain, and it lasts longer if the herbs are harvested at the right time and properly cured and stored. The young, tender leaves of herbs can be gathered and used fresh at any time during the season. To dry herbs for later use, harvest them when the plants begin to flower. Herbs should be dried rapidly in a well-ventilated, darkened room. If the leaves are dusty or gritty, wash them in cold water and thoroughly drain them before drying. As soon as the leaves or seeds are dry, pack them in plastic or glass containers that can be closed tightly.
Drying is the traditional way, but freezing is just as simple. Harvest the herbs from your garden, wash them well, and then pat them dry. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer. This ensures that they won’t freeze together in one big clump. Transfer the frozen herbs to a labeled, air-tight bag. Herbs like dill, sage, rosemary, and thyme freeze best when left on their stalks. When you’re ready to cook you can add whole stalks and then retrieve them before serving. You can also chop or snip the leaves of frozen herbs directly into your dish, just as you would with fresh herbs.
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If you need the supplies to start your own herb garden, A 1 Stop Garden Shop is here for you. Call today if you have any questions.