With the sun dragging its feet, delicate herbs are best kept indoors until actual spring weather and warmer temperature are here. Le Creuset embellishes your indoor herb garden with these gorgeous counter top planters in cream and cherry red.
I always have fresh herbs around but for easy use, some tips in how to store your harvest.
INDOOR GARDEN If you are buying herbs already potted, choose your herb plants wisely. Check for good strong roots and good growth. If you are sowing them from seed, let them germinate in small containers. Place your herbs in a spot inundated with daylight but not directly in the sun especially behind glass, this may dry or burn them. Ensure good drainage and water regular. Watch out not to place them too close central heating and keep an eye on watering them more frequently when the heat is on.
Good herbs to grow indoor are softer herbs like basil, marjoram, lemon thyme and coriander. Harder herbs like rosemary, sage, bay leave and thyme can survive all winter up to 3 to 5 C
HARVEST & PRESERVE Choose herbs you use weekly in cooking or infusions so you can harvest a few sprigs at the time. You best harvest outdoor herbs early morning or late afternoon; indoor herbs whenever you want as the temperature and conditions are stable. Wash your herbs before using them or preserving them. A quick rinse under fresh water should do the trick and ideally flick them dry or pat them with some kitchen paper.
Should you be so lucky to have an abundance, preserve them as following:
- Fresh cut herbs, to be used in next few days – wrap in wet paper towels and store in fridge vegetable drawer.
- Mint leaves and eatable flowers and be pretty in ice cubes. Or just freeze herbs in a ziploc bag, air squeezed out and just toss them in your cook pot when needed.
- Use an ice cube tray, add a few rosemary or sage leaves and olive oil. Freeze and use direct into the pan for cooking.
- Dry cut herbs by hanging them for a week in a dry and warm spot. Hang them in small bunches and when dry strip the leaves of the stems and store in jars or bags. Use them in cooking or infusions up to 1 month. This is excellent for harder herbs such as rosemary, lemon verbena, thyme, and bay leave.
- Basil abundance is great to be used up in making pesto. Coriander can be used for making guacamole.
- Use fresh mint to flavour your water by adding it to your daily water bottle.
- Preserve herbs in sugar or salt by adding chopped herbs to them in a sealable jar. In sugar think of mint or lavender; for salt use rosemary, thyme, basil or sage. Using sea salt can be great to cook fish in a salt crust.