How to have fresh herbs in your kitchen and at your fingertips all summer long!
Summer is the best time of year in so many ways. It’s generally more relaxed and casual, there are a zillion fun outdoor activities to enjoy and, if you like to cook, a dizzying array of fabulous fresh fruits and veggies abound all season long.
I’m loving the plethora of produce Scott brings in every day, a basket (sometimes a bucket) of wonderful garden harvest. There are beans, cukes, eggplants, squash, tomatoes, carrots, fennel, beets, peppers and lots of fresh herbs growing like crazy right now.
Unlike most of the produce that can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, fresh herbs are best when picked as you need them. I have to admit though, in the past, I would often hesitate to run outside and clip fresh herbs when I was in the middle of a recipe. Pouring rain, scorching heat and
sometimes often just plain old laziness kept me from the fragrant, verdant plants growing right on my deck.
Another issue I ran into with fresh herbs was the fact that, if washed right before using, they tend to be slick, difficult to chop and can get a bit slimy after chopping. Wet, slimy herbs don’t make a pretty presentation for a dinner you’ve spent precious time preparing.
But I learned a clever little trick a number of years ago and I thought I’d share it with you today. It’s a wonderful way to have clean, dry herbs right at your fingertips all summer long. Once or twice a week, early in the day (before the Carolina heat hits), I go out to my herb garden and clip a bunch of each kind of herb that I might need that week. Fresh herbs love to be snipped and trimmed, and the more you cut away, the faster they seem to grow.
When I bring them inside, I give them a good washing either under the faucet or swishing them in a sink full of clean, cool water. I hold on to each bunch at their stems as I wash them, keeping like kinds of herbs together and gently shaking the excess water into the sink when I’m finished. Then I stick the herb bunches in small vases or glasses (filled with fresh water) and place them on the window sill. They dry quickly and stay fresh for a week or longer.
Every day or two, I just discard the water and replace it with fresh. Any time herbs are needed for a recipe, I simply pull the clean, dry herbs from their containers and away I go.
Fresh herbs are quite magical, adding delicious flavor to everything – salads, soups, pasta, eggs, grilled entrees, desserts, beverages, etc. Like I said; everything! Summer is the time to use them with great abandon as they are readily available and can transform your meals from average to extraordinary.
If you don’t have the space or time to grow fresh herbs, this method will also work with the bunches of herbs sold at farmers markets. Don’t try it with grocery store herbs in the little plastic packets however, they’ve been away from “their mama” for too long and won’t survive.
If you do grow your own herbs, bravo to you! This simple little trick will save you lots of steps, and will make it super easy to always have these delicious, fragrant, tasty leaves at your fingertips all summer long. Enjoy!