As the Winter nights are drawing in and the frosts are creeping on us in the morning; it’s the perfect time to check on your herb garden to ensure that you can preserve and enjoy the tasty flavours and seasonings throughout the Winter months.
In many areas, many hardy herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary and bay can keep growing outside if protected from the worst of the weather by placing them under a cloche. We have two lovely cloches to choose from. Protecting them like this will ensure that you have soft and fresh new leaves throughout the year.
Another way to get the best out of your herb garden during the Winter months, is to freeze herbs that have a high water content; herbs such as basil, chives, lemon balm, mint and tarragon. You may find if you dry these herbs instead they loose their fragrant and aromatic qualities. Freezing is a simple and excellent way to preserve fresh culinary herbs. Packing in ice cube trays makes it easy to always have fresh herbs on hand, adding fresh herb flavor to soups, sauces, and stews. Herbal ice cubes can be dropped directly into ingredients as they are being prepared. The herbal ice cubes will thaw out as the recipe finishes cooking.
Here’s how to freeze your Winter Herb Garden:
- Harvest the freshest, healthiest leaves
- Wash, if necessary, and pat dry with paper towels
- Place 2-3 individual leaves or a spoonful of chopped herbs in ice cube trays.
- Fill the tray half way with water. Make sure the leaves are down into the water, as best you can. They will tend to float, but that will be fixed later on. Place the half filled tray in the freezer.
- Once the ice cubes are pretty much frozen, finish filling the try with water. The leaves will no longer be able to float and should be completely surrounded with water. Now place the tray back into the freezer to freeze solid.
- Once the ice cubes are frozen, remove from the tray and store in zip closure bags.
- When ready to use, toss the whole ice cube into your favorite stew or dish.