Much of the country has already put up everything they harvested out of the garden months ago, but here in Texas it’s the end of November and we just got our first freeze a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, preserving herbs can be done almost any time of year and a lot of herbs can give you two or three harvests. You can also do this with leftover store-bought herbs.
I’ve only been gardening for about 18 months, so to me any harvest is big; even if I just get one tomato or a few leaves of basil I’m happy. I did get a bit more than that but really this year was a learning year and while I harvested enough cucumbers to make pickles I really didn’t get enough of anything to “put up,” except in one little area: my herb garden. Turns out for almost magical reasons (some have weed-like qualities…but to me it’s magic) herbs are really easy to grow and thrive even when vegetables die.
Drying herbs and saving them for later (a.k.a. putting up) is just as easy. I had basil, oregano, and thyme to harvest and put up. To harvest the herbs, I took a rubber band in one hand and scissors in the other. After I cut the herbs at the base I wrapped the rubber band around them, tied a rope around them and hung them on a hanger to dry in the garage. After about a week or so this is what they looked like.
Over a bowl gently run your fingers up and down the branch and the leaves should fall off without crumbling.
I found it easier to run my fingers the way the leaves grew – up the branch rather than down the branch.
It’s a good idea to do this outside as there will be some leaves that fall and it’s not always possible to get everything in the bowl.
Here I have basil, thyme, and oregano ready to be packed. I left the leaves whole as that holds in the oils; when I’m ready to use I’ll just crumble with my hands.
I used a canning jar for final storage.
Once they are labeled they are ready to store in a cool dry place.
If you don’t have a FoodSaver with a canning jar attachment other ideas are: Ziploc bag, dry canning the herbs, or a plastic container stored in the freezer.