Herbs forum: Storing Herbs and Veggies For Winter

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Name: Karen
Wayne, NJ (Zone 6b)
Region: New Jersey
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BlackCat08
Jul 9, 2015 9:51 AM CST
If anyone is growing rosemary and thyme I found a super easy way to preserve it fresh for use over the winter.

Pick it wash and spin dry it and blot it with a paper towel to make sure it is completely dry. Place the washed herbs into a ziplock bag and place it in the freezer for a day or two. Remove the frozen herbs from the freezer and roll a rolling pin over it several times. All the leaves come right off the stem. Remove the stems from the bags and transfer the herbs to a mason jar and label them. Place the herbs in the freezer for use whenever needed.

I picked more basil in the drizzle this morning, washed it and spun dried it. Placed it in my Bullet with a bit of olive oil and blended it. I then poured it in ice cube trays. Later once it's frozen I'll pop it out of the trays and put to cubes in a ziplock bag to use later for stir fries or pesto sauce. I think next year I'm going to grow lots more Basil cause my kids use the basil cubes faster than I can make them.
Name: Janice Hurd
Thompsonville Village, Ct. (Zone 6a)
"Where flowers bloom so does hope"
Butterflies Bee Lover Container Gardener Echinacea
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phoebesviolets
Jul 9, 2015 10:33 AM CST
Wow! great tips, esp. the pesto! Definitely gonna try that! Master gardener in community garden also had a tip for drying thyme. Put it in a paper bag with small holes punched in it for air circulation. On a sunny day, place the bag on car windshield, fastened in place by windshield wiper. This should dry the leaves so they can easily be removed from stems by running your hand along the stems. The leaves are now ready to be stored in an air tight container. I haven't tried this yet.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jul 10, 2015 3:13 AM CST
figured the herb tips were worth a new thread
Name: Janice Hurd
Thompsonville Village, Ct. (Zone 6a)
"Where flowers bloom so does hope"
Butterflies Bee Lover Container Gardener Echinacea
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phoebesviolets
Jul 10, 2015 5:26 AM CST
Great idea! One relatively short term storage method I discovered by trial and error, and have been told by friends that they thought it was a good idea, is this...Fresh onions such as scallions and cut chives I keep in a tall container such as a glass (or DD iced coffee cup ;) ) with an inch or 2 of water. They keep fresh for weeks if necessary. Change the water every couple of days. Not sure if this would work for fresh picked herbs. I use the same method for fresh picked kale and large lettuce leaves. The container for them is a gallon baggie, cut end in water, propped up in a large bowl, The leaves stay nice and crisp, though probably for a shorter time, about a week. As most of my veggies are grown in the community garden, which is for me, a bit of a walk away, and I'm usually preparing meals for 1, and, veges like kale/lettuce become plentiful and often need harvesting like all at once per the season, and I live in a community that lives on fast food, where they make ugly faces when I offer them kale, these methods are helpful to me. I have a couple of friends who use kale in smoothies, but for long term storage for my copious harvests, I used Karen's idea for freezing it. This is my special pet kale plant I keep on my back porch. It is so beautiful, I hesitate to cut leaves! Wish it would last all summer!


Thumb of 2015-07-10/phoebesviolets/ca8418


Thumb of 2015-07-10/phoebesviolets/376615

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
[Last edited by phoebesviolets - Jul 10, 2015 6:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
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RobinD
Jul 10, 2015 6:52 AM CST
Wow....a handsome plant indeed! I don't use many fresh herbs....dill is one favorite.....but that's hard to keep fresh except when it's growing in the garden......I do use fresh basil as well.....good tip about freezing it in ice cubes.
Name: Karen
Wayne, NJ (Zone 6b)
Region: New Jersey
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BlackCat08
Jul 10, 2015 10:28 AM CST
Janice gorgeous Kale plant, the more you pick it the more it will grow and last through to winter.

Marilyn I just pick the Dill before it seeds and put it right in the freezer. I mostly use it for potato salad. It's still nice and fresh straight out of the freezer.

Dried Parsley this morning before the caterpillars get it. Pick, Wash, spin dry. Place parsley on paper towel then cover with another piece of paper towel. (You can go two layers) Place in Microwave and put on for 20 seconds at a time, checking it after each 20 seconds. (usually about 4 or 5 times at 20 sec. intervals is all you need.) The parsley with dry nicely and you'll be able to pull it right off the stem and store it in an air tight container.
Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Jul 10, 2015 2:53 PM CST
Thanks for the dill info! I really love it......
Name: Karen
Wayne, NJ (Zone 6b)
Region: New Jersey
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BlackCat08
Jul 10, 2015 3:10 PM CST
Fresh Dill is by far so much better than dill you buy in the grocery store already dried.
Name: Janice Hurd
Thompsonville Village, Ct. (Zone 6a)
"Where flowers bloom so does hope"
Butterflies Bee Lover Container Gardener Echinacea
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phoebesviolets
Jul 10, 2015 7:57 PM CST
I never did find any dill in my spring travels. It's on my list with oregano and rosemary . Is it too late to plant some? How about in pots? AWESOME tips!
Oh...and I will probably be transferring that purple kale to community garden next to my ruffley green kale this week. I took almost all the leaves TO freeze from the green kale plants Thursday, and much to my surprise today, the plants are growing new leaves! I'm pretty sure I can get the same box next year as this is my third year with this box.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
[Last edited by phoebesviolets - Jul 10, 2015 8:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Jul 11, 2015 6:41 AM CST
Good for you, Jan.....nice when you can have the same space.....It's not too late for dill....will do fine in garden or pot...it's not fussy.
Name: Karen
Wayne, NJ (Zone 6b)
Region: New Jersey
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BlackCat08
Jul 19, 2015 2:25 PM CST
Reminder to all cat owners, Pick and dry your Nepeta (Catnip) so you'll have tons for the winter months or to make new toys for the kitty's.

I cut the stems flowers and all and hang them in the basement near our dehumidifier. After a week or two they are nice and dry. Remove all leaves and flowers to an airtight container. The dried stems I give to the cats for a day of romping around as they chew away on them.
Name: Karen
Wayne, NJ (Zone 6b)
Region: New Jersey
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BlackCat08
Jul 29, 2015 9:33 AM CST
Pesto......I love pesto and decided to do some experimenting with different ways to make it and freeze it for later. My latest creation was a swiss Chard basil pesto.

2 cups chopped swiss chard
Handful of fresh chopped Basil (just snipped off the tops of the basil plants, left the leaves on the stem and chopped them)
Toasted 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves chopped and toasted
I placed the Swiss chard, basil and Parmesan cheese in my bullet and pulsed it til it was mixed. Added 1/2 of a lime and 1 can of organic black beans (drained), 2 small Thai hot peppers. Turned bullet on low and slowly added olive oil til I had a nice creamy pesto then added the garlic and almonds and pulsed til it all combined. Added in some pink Himalayan sea salt and ground pepper to taste.
I froze a small batch for a couple days and then defrosted it to see how it turned out. It was as fresh as the day I made it. Once I defrosted the batch I added in some diced tomatoes and spread some on a tortilla topped it with a little shredded mozzarella and zucchini sliced and made little yummy pizza's.

I've also added it to spiraled zucchini with fresh tomatoes and parmesan cheese for an easy spaghetti (pasta free) dinner.


Works great as a dip for pretzels or veggies.
Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Jul 30, 2015 6:36 AM CST
Sounds delish! I guess I won't be doing much with my basil this summer....something has eaten most of it.....
Name: Janice Hurd
Thompsonville Village, Ct. (Zone 6a)
"Where flowers bloom so does hope"
Butterflies Bee Lover Container Gardener Echinacea
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phoebesviolets
Jul 30, 2015 8:10 AM CST
Though the predicated sweet basil blight never materialized this year, I noticed after the community garden where pretty much everyone planted basil, that someone plants were almost completely chewed up, yet many others weren't touched. All of mine, there and at home, are fine. I've been wondering for awhile what made the difference, what attracted the bugs They some plants and not others. Shrug!
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Jul 30, 2015 12:40 PM CST
Glad to know the Basil Blight never happened!
Name: Karen
Wayne, NJ (Zone 6b)
Region: New Jersey
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BlackCat08
Jul 30, 2015 12:44 PM CST
I grew my Basil from seed this year. Haven't had any problems other than an occasional hole or two in the leaves.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Jul 30, 2015 1:04 PM CST
I am growing Basil from seed right now but the Basil I have I bought as seedlings this spring.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jul 31, 2015 3:26 AM CST
my neighbor gave me basil right after Christmas from a hydroponics place.. kept it in water on my windowsill.. put a gallon baggie over the top .. planted it out when it warmed up.. looked ugly for a while.. now looks great.. I am amazed it lasted ... it came with clean roots so I figured it was worth a shot
Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Jul 31, 2015 6:35 AM CST
Smart way to keep it, Allison!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Jul 31, 2015 10:54 AM CST
Onewish1 said:my neighbor gave me basil right after Christmas from a hydroponics place.. kept it in water on my windowsill.. put a gallon baggie over the top .. planted it out when it warmed up.. looked ugly for a while.. now looks great.. I am amazed it lasted ... it came with clean roots so I figured it was worth a shot


I am really surprised that you managed to keep it for so long. Great job!

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