Preserving Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
There really is nothing quite like fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of your food. I grew a small herb garden this summer on my deck and it literally exploded with an over abundance of herbs, from chives and oregano, to basil, rosemary and thyme. I used them all throughout the summer to add extra yumminess to my dishes. One great thing about herbs is even after picking they continue to produce and produce. Preserving the fresh herbs in olive oil before the first frost (I know, I can’t believe we’re already talking about the first frost!) is a must if you want to enjoy the fresh herb flavors throughout the winter months.
French Tarragon has a slight licorice or anise flavor. I love it on chicken and in my scrambled eggs. Here is my Creamed Eggs recipe using French Tarragon.
The Finest Ingredients
Whether using fresh oregano or any other herbs, the olive oil you choose to preserve them in is just as important as the herbs themselves. When preserving herbs you will want to choose the finest extra virgin olive oil (I purchase my olive oil from Ampersand Oil & Vinegar Tap House) and pick your herbs at their peak (before flowering or seeding). You will also need ice trays, either plastic or silicone.
Directions for Preserving Fresh Herbs
Finely chop your herbs, one variety at a time. Place a small amount of herbs (about a tablespoon) into each ice-cube section. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the herbs and fill about 3/4 full. Repeat this with every herb you desire to preserve. Place the trays into the freezer for about 3 hours. Once the olive oil has solidified, remove the cubes, place in a Ziploc bag and label. Place them back in the freezer for future use in your dishes.
I decided to preserve my basil leaves in pesto cubes. This will be perfect over gluten-free pasta or better yet, my pesto zucchini zoodle recipe! Whatever you choose to put them in, they will substitute perfect for dishes that call for olive oil and fresh herbs.
I am excited to be heading next week to the 2015 International Food Bloggers Conference again this year in Seattle. With lots of fun classes to attend and wonderful sponsors, you can expect some fun blogging ahead! Until then, I hope you get those herbs preserved for winter!