If you’re like me you put fresh herbs in everything from egg salad sandwiches to soups and pastas. Even pizza! It really does improve the taste and I love the ritual of cutting a few fresh stems from my herb garden. Well right now my herb garden is not looking so great except for the oregano and thyme (which is thriving since I re-potted them in a huge pot together – they seem to get along very well). I’ve been looking for ways to preserve their freshness for as long as possible. Nothing wrong with using dried but I love garnishing with fresh almost as much as cooking with them. So here’s an idea for preserving your soon-to-be-sad-looking herbs and a recipe for a simple dressing which you can use for everything from coleslaw & cucumber salad to potato salad or simple mixed greens.
Summer might be waning, but your money-saving herb garden can be harvested until the first frost. Preserve those wonderful green bits for winter with these tips.
At the household blog Tipnut, they’ve put together a rather exhaustive list of ways you can preserve the bounty of your summer garden. On top of more traditional methods like hanging herbs to air dry, they have some rather novel approaches to stashing them away for the winter. Want to preserve your more oily herbs as-is, instead of drying them out? Try this trick:
Chop herbs then sprinkle them into ice cube trays (measure into each cube the most common amount you use in cooking). Cover with water and freeze (can also cover with stock or olive oil). Pop them out once they’re frozen, package in freezer bags and store in the freezer (remove as much air as possible from the bags before freezing). When needed for cooking, just take out a cube and pop it in the dish that’s cooking (thawing first is optional–remember to account for the frozen liquid in your recipe). Tip: Try mixing your favorite blends of fresh herbs before freezing.
If you have a consistent stable of recipes, the ice cube trick would be a great way to preserve fresh herbs and oil for easy use.
And now for the low calorie, low-fat RECIPE – Creamy always sounds more fattening right?
- 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (try avocado or southwest)
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried minced onion or chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon or dill (or use both)
- 1 teaspoon onion salt or celery salt or 1/4 teaspoon of each
- White pepper to taste
- Preparation: Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, honey, onion or chives, tarragon (or dill) and onion salt (and/or celery salt) in a bowl until well blended. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
- Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dressing for up to 5 days. Stir before using.
- Nutritional per Tbsp: 16 measely calories & 1 G FAT
Tell me how you LOVE IT (a switch over from reliable olive oil, balsamic & lemon juice!)
If you were wondering: black pepper is unripe fruit (green), picked and sun dried til it turns black. White pepper is the fully ripe seed stripped of its outer husk.
Furthermore….white pepper has a little milder flavor than black pepper but in some things it shouldn’t matter. Some recipes will specifically call for white pepper but I routinely substitute black pepper for white in my recipes. Keep this in mind… if you are making a cream soup or a lighter colored soup, usually the recipe calls for white pepper so it doesn’t look like you have dirt floating around in your soup. You can’t see the white pepper like you see the black pepper. But as long as you don’t mind the color… the taste is usually just the same.