My herb bed is stunning this year! So, what shall we do with them? Oil and Vinegar anyone?
I cook with herbs every day or nearly every day, so this bed has been a much loved spot this summer.
Now, as summer is winding down, and other beds are slipping away, I am looking for ways to keep my herbs through the coming coolness of fall and winter. I’ve hit on four ideas I’m sharing with you this morning.
Oil and Vinegar
First up I’m making herb infusions of both oil and vinegar. I’ve collected several nice bottles and have begun the process of steeping the herbs with the oils and different vinegar types. I’m also trying a mix of oil and vinegar for the first time this year. We’ll see how that is.
I want some with clarity and sparkle and others with ruddy richness, so I’ve chosen white wine vinegar and a Japanese Saki vinegar as well as Apple cider and Rose vinegar. I’m using Rosemary, Red Rubin Basil, Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil, Dill-vierling and dukat, and garlic and thyme. I’ve put it all in 1quart jars to steep, no sense fiddling with the funnel for this part of the process.
When I get ready to bottle it for giving, selling or using, I’ll transfer it to the fancy bottles I’m collecting for just such a purpose. Need a quick dressing? You’ll have it with the oil and vinegar!
For the oil variation I deliberately chose extra light tasting oil so as to not dampen the herb flavors. I’m using Sunflower oil, sesame and peanut, as well as extra virgin olive and some Wesson because it has that certain Wessonality.
Other Herb saving projects. I’m going to construct an herb drying rack with some dowel rods later this week. It will be a simple affair, but will be what I need, I believe. I’m pretty handy. = )
I’m starting some flavored salts, basil, sorrel, dill and rosemary. They will have a nice chance to flavor the salt if they are started now for Christmas gifts I think. I found really cute tins to put the salt in also, now all I need is some salt spoons!
Also for gifts, I’m making kitchen soap.This is handsoap that is particularly good for getting rid of those cooking smells that like to clutch our hands, like garlic, onion and other aromatic necessities used in great cooking. I’m making Basil Lemon soap, and Cherry Peppermint to combat those hand clinging melodious odors. Oh, and I’m thinking of perhaps a coffee soap as well, I think that would also work as an odor neutralizer, and smell yummy to boot.
I’m small batching some pesto, trying to get some to be shelf stable. I haven’t hit on a tried and true method yet, I’ll let you know how that goes.
And finally, I’m freezing herbs as well. Some of them I’m putting in chicken stock and freezing in ice trays, others I’ve creamed with butter and put in ice trays, and last will be a few layers on a cookie sheet then transfered to jars and kept in the freezer.
My favorite herb this year has been the Borage I don’t want to go on too much today about it as I’ll be using it for the Paisley plant of the week on Saturday. It really is special so check back later to hear more about that. No matter what you use it for, oil and vinegar, salt or soap, it’s great!
Before I leave you, the scoffing Parsnip is scoffing loudly because he says he doesn’t know anyone except for me that actually uses infused vinegar or oil. His point is that people just use the bottles as decorations in their kitchens, but don’t cook with them. So, is he right? I’m still going to give them as gifts, but I really would like the people I give them to use them. It makes even hum drum meals so yummy, how can you resist? Oh well, weigh in!
That’s what I have today, except to tell you you should check out ClaraTales. It’s an excellent project in my opinion. Oh, and have a great, paisley week!~KeriAnne