Updated: Sep 14
Fresh herbs are a delightful addition to any dish, elevating flavours, adding vibrancy and health. However, their short shelf life sometimes leaves us with more than we can use at once and we don’t like let those precious herbs go to waste. What to do?!
Drying herbs is an age-old preservation method. Hanging a small bunch of herbs upside down in a warm, dry place. This is effective for hard herbs - those with woody stems, say, thyme or rosemary - but not for leafy herbs like coriander or basil. Unfortunately for us in Singapore, the humidity doesn’t allow us to do this. For those of you in drier climes, we would love to join you at some time!
Freezing in oil, or water, is our favourite method. Chop your herbs finely and pack them into ice cube trays. Fill the trays with either water or olive oil (consider a lighter more neutral tasting oil if olive oil is too flavoursome), push out any air pockets, then freeze. Once frozen, transfer the herb cubes into a zip-top bag. The cubes are perfect for dropping into soups, stews and sauces to infuse dishes with herbal goodness. They can be defrosted and used to marinade meats or fish. Cubed Herbes de Provence anyone?
Herb Butters are versatile and can be used to enhance the flavour of various dishes. Blend finely chopped herbs into softened butter, then roll the mixture into a log using plastic wrap. Chill or freeze the log, and when needed, slice off portions to melt over steaks, seafood, or bread. We generally try to limit our use of butter but as an occasional treat, herbed butters are lovely.
Herb Pestos can be stored in the fridge until needed. Whip up a batch of pesto by blending basil with nuts (traditionally pine nuts but almonds or other nuts can be used), garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and drizzle a thin layer of oil on top to prevent browning. Pesto doesn't have to be limited to basil, other herbs can be used.
Herb-Infused Vinegars and Oils can add a burst of flavour to your culinary creations but only use up a small volume of herbs, unless you are making them in volume for friends. Fill a clean glass bottle with vinegar or oil and add washed and dried herbs. Seal the bottle and let the flavours infuse over time. Some recipes involve blending and straining the herbs, fun if you have the time and inclination. Herb-infused oils are excellent for drizzling over salads, pasta, or grilled vegetables.
As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs (and their polyphenols) have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, enjoy a variety of herbs that work in synergy to promote maximum health. And taste! That's one reason why the Mediterranean diet is so effective at promoting long-term health.
If you have any other suggestions for what to do with left-over herbs, please let us know!
A healthy diet addresses one of the pillars of health. What else can you focus on to maximise your health and longevity?
More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...
Achieve your Health Goals
Your health, physical – mental – social - is complex and affected by multiple factors within and outside of your control. Our consults and programmes address the whole person, the root causes of ill health and maximising your health performance & vitality.
Take the first step. Book a Whole Health Consult to assess, identify and prioritise key factors (known and unknown) that affect your health. And receive personalised recommendations on how to address them.
Want to put recommendations into action? Learn more about our programmes for individuals or teams.