4 Easy ways to preserve fresh herbs

Fresh herbs can breathe new life into a recipe, but are hard to use up before going bad. Learn how to preserve your fresh herbs so they never go to waste again. 

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4 Easy Ways to Preserve Fresh Herbs

Spruce up any recipe by adding expertly preserved fresh herbs that you can have on hand by following these easy methods.
How to preserve fresh herbs in oil
Having fresh herb oil on hand is a quick and easy way of adding a dash of flavour to any salad, pasta or fresh bread. It is particularly good for preserving a glut of soft herbs such as basil and coriander.
  • Start by blanching the herbs in boiling water for a minute.
  • Drop immediately into a bowl of ice water to prevent them from overcooking.
  • Drain well and pat dry.
  • Combine with a mild-tasting vegetable oil and process in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.
  • Strain through a muslin cloth or chux and store in the fridge.
  • Use herb oil drizzled over soups, salads, pasta and bread.
Freezing fresh herbs
Freezing fresh herbs is a great solution to have an extra punch of flavour readily available for months. There are two easy methods for freezing soft fresh herbs, except for parsley. Always start by washing and pat drying the herbs.
Method 1
  1. Pick the leaves and place them inside a labelled freezer bag.
  2. Seal well, expelling as much air as possible.
  3. Place it on a tray to lay flat in a single layer in the freezer.
  4. Use directly from frozen.
Method two
  1. Fill ice cube trays with either whole or minced herbs that have been mixed with oil.
  2. Freeze the cubes, and then put them into labelled freezer bags.
  3. Use in recipes when sautéing onions, garlic and herbs.
Play Video
Make a pesto
There’s nothing quite likely fresh pesto stirred through pasta or drizzled over pizza for a scrumptious meal that uses up all those leftover herbs. Traditionally, pesto is made by combining basil and parsley, pine nuts, cheese and oil in a food processor until finely chopped. Get creative and use any leafy soft herb combined with whatever nuts you have on hand. Blitz in a food processor with a drizzle of oil and voila, fresh homemade pesto!
Play Video: Basil Pesto
How to dry herbs
A great option for storing herbs long term, most fresh herbs can be dried easily. Harder tough herbs such as bay leaves, sage and thyme will do far better with the drying process than soft herbs, but all can be done easily.
Oven method
  1. Strip herbs off their stem and carefully wash and pat dry the leaves.
  2. Transfer to a lined flat baking tray in a single layer and place in a low 100°C oven with the door cracked open slightly.
  3. It should take 3-4 hours or until herbs are dry and crumbly.
  4. Place into an airtight container.
  5. Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Microwave method
For smaller amounts of herbs, you can use the microwave to dry out your herbs instead.
  1. Line a dinner plate with a paper towel and spread out your herbs in a single layer.
  2. Cook on High for 30 seconds.
  3. Toss to move the outer leaves towards the centre of the plate and vice versa, continue in this way until the herbs are completely dry.
  4. Do not be tempted to cook for longer than 30 seconds at a time as herbs will burn easily.
How to make compound butter
Homemade herb butter is a quick, easy and delicious way to preserve fresh herbs. Simply as finely chop whatever herbs you have on hand, and stir through room temperature butter until well combined. It can be added to roast vegetables, a nice cut of lamb or pork, and even slathered on some fresh bread and lightly toasted in the oven for an easy herb-infused appetiser.
Play Video: Herb butters: 3 ways
Recipes using herbs
Learn how to cook with herbs, fresh or preserved, with one of our flavour packed recipes below!
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