Preserving Herbs for Best Flavor

What’s the best way to preserve culinary herbs?

Preserving HerbsIt’s best to dry herbs that have pronounced flavors and tough or needle-like leaves — such as rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, lavender, mint and bay. Freeze herbs with more subtle flavors and tender leaves — such as parsley, cilantro and chervil. Preserving basil is the exception: It dries well, but its flavor is brighter if frozen.

For best flavor, harvest herbs just before they bloom, which is when their essential oils are at the highest level. To dry, fasten together small bunches of stems with twine or a rubber band, and then hang them upside down in a warm, dry place. Tie the bundles tightly, because the stems will shrink as they dry. When the leaves become brittle, strip them from the stems and store them in jars. Label and date the jars.

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