Harvesting and freezing herbs

Growing herbs add to any garden and landscape. They have beauty that add to any garden and also provide uses for crafting, culinary and medicinal care.

Herbs have a wide harvesting season. It will depend on your climate and herb variety that you are growing.

Here are a few harvesting tips that will help you get the best results from your herbs

Harvest fresh herbs early in the morning. This is when the oil concentration is at its peak. Unless you are using the blooms, herbs should be harvested just prior to blooming.

To prolong harvesting time of your herbs, pinch off buds when they appear. You may also want to cut back herbs to encourage new growth. I have found this will get unruly herbs back in control.

When harvesting, snip sections of new growth with a pair or scissors or cut with a sharp knife. Be sure that the leaves you keep are free from insects or insect damage. Leaves that are not up to a good standard can be added to the compost pile.

Inspect the leaves and stems closely for discoloration or holes that may indicate insect damage. Look at the undersides for the presence of eggs or larvae. Herbs are relatively insect-free, but it is always best to take the time to examine them closely.

Rinse in leaves in cool water. This will prevent wilting of the herbs and help retain their freshness. Pat the herbs and let sit on a towel to dry.

Freezing herbs for storage.

Frozen herbs have a fresher taste and if you have extra space in your freezer this is an excellent way to preserve your herb crop.

Start by chopping the herbs into small sections and putting them into an ice-cube tray. Cover the herbs with water and freeze. Once frozen, pop out the cubes and store them in a plastic freezer bag. Be sure to label and date the herb cubes. If you have frozen several bags of each herb try to use the older bags first.

Frozen herbs are great for adding to soups, stews or other sauces. Just grab a cube or two and add them to your sauce. The ice cubes will melt, leaving you with the wonderful flavor of fresh herbs. Basil is one of my favorite herbs to use frozen.

I dry and freeze herbs. The method I use depends on time, the herb and how much freezer space I have available.

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