Using herbs in the winter months

flat-leaf-parsley-close-upDuring the winter, any herbs you grow outside will naturally die back, but with some sensible forward planning you can keep using them in your cooking throughout the colder months.

Freshly-picked herbs are definitely the best for flavour. Mints, sages and parsleys can all be potted up around now and brought inside in September to give you fresh leaves to use in your culinary endeavours all winter-long. Also, any parsley growing outside, can be covered to protect its foliage too.

It is possible to dry your own fresh herbs and to keep bunches to hand in the kitchen. Cut fresh foliage early on a fine day, tie the sprigs in small bunches and hang them upside-down to dry in a cool airy room – not your bathroom or kitchen where there may be condensation that can cause them to go mouldy.

Alternatively, spread the foliage out on baking trays and put them in a very low oven with the door open. Once the leaves are dry and crisp to the touch, gently pull the leaves off the stems and store them in clean dry jars.

An alternative way to preserve herbs is to wash the leaves, chop them up and put them in ice-cube trays. Cover with a little water and freeze them. Remember to keep a record of how long you have had something frozen and to take care to use items in a timely fashion.