The Best Way to Preserve Herbs and Spices
Keeping your kitchen stocked with herbs and spices is key to creating tasty dishes, as these important additions have the power to make or break your meals. While most stores sell a wide variety of dried herbs to choose from, preserving your own fresh plants is a great way to ensure that your ingredients remain viable in the long term.
Next time you go searching for seasonings, consider the ways you can store them using your vacuum sealer.
Picking, Preserving and Protecting
If you're looking to preserve herbs with leaves, it's crucial to pluck these plants at the right time. Mother Earth Living reported that if you're picking herbs from your own garden, harvest them in the morning before the sun has a chance to dry up the oils that form on their leaves. After you've removed the herbs from the ground, let them air dry - this process allows the plants to reabsorb oils without losing precious taste.
The Kitchn noted that washing the herbs before the preservation process won't harm them, but freezing without drying can lead to mildew.
Freezing Fresh Herbs
After you've dried your herbs, it's time to freeze them. PBS Food reported that freezing is the best way to save herbs that have hard leaves, such as rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Other herbs, like oregano, basil, parsley and mint, also freeze well.
Separate your spices by their type - don't mix your leaves, as you may not be able to tell them apart when it comes time to cook. Place your leaves on an oven tray, keeping them clustered together, then place them in the freezer for two to three hours. Using your FoodSaver® V2431 Vacuum Sealing System to individually package different herbs, use a permanent marker to distinguish between the plants.
A vacuum sealer is a great way to further preserve the flavors of your herbs, as the dryer the herb, the better its taste.
How Long Will They Last?
Dried herbs can last for years, according to Mother Nature Network. Herbs and spices that have been purchased from a store will likely have an expiration date to which you can adhere, but if you're preserving your own spices, you won't have a surefire guide to follow. MNN reported that dried herbs can last anywhere between one and three years, while spices can last between two and three years.