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Preserving your harvest.

Basil mixed with oil in food processor and placed in ice cubes for processingWhile growing your own herbs and vegetables, it is inevitable at some point you will be left with a glut of produce.

Especially with herbs where you may just use a leaf or two as a garnish or to flavour meals.

If you do as I do and use seedlings that punnet of six to eight plants are likely to be ready for picking all at the same time, luckily herbs are quite to easy to preserve.

 

Basil 

Freezing Basil.

With recent rain my basil plants really shot up and started to flower, to try and prolong the plants I cut them all back and was left with a lot of basil so decided to preserve the leaves by freezing them.

Place the leaves in a food processor with a couple of table spoon of olive oil and pulse to a fine consistency.

Transfer to a Ice cube tray and then freeze. Once frozen remove cubes and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. They can then be used at a later date by popping a frozen cube in to soups, curries and pasta sauces.

Basil bunch hanging to dryAir Drying Basil

You can also Air dry your basil, pick your basil by cutting similar length stalks, give the basil a rinse in water and a pat dry.

Remove any damaged leaves and then tie the bunch together using a rubber band or hair tie.

Hang in a dry well ventilated area out of direct sunlight and allow to dry.

It will take three to four weeks to dry out completely and can be stored in zip lock bags.

 

Fresh Chillies placed in zip lock bags for freezingChillies.

Freezing Chillies

This is our most successful way of preserving chillies we simply throw them in a zip lock bag whole and then freeze them.

We have been taking from and adding more chillies as we grow them, to this zip lock bag plus another in the freezer for at least the last seven years or so.  

 We remove and chop them while still frozen and then use in stir frys curries ect. 

 

Chillies that have been dried by hangingAir Dry Chillies.

You can also Air dry Chillies tie up in small bunches and like the basil hang in a dry well ventilated area.

Once completely dry you can store in jar or zip lock bag, We just have ours in a bowl in the open and they have lasted a very long time.

 

 

 

Fresh bay leaves ready for drying and some bay leaves that have been dried previouslyBay Leaves.

If you have a bay tree you can just use the fresh leaves, but I find the dry leaves are much more aromatic and have a better flavour.  

Just like the chillies and basil I find just hanging up bay leaves in a dry well ventilated area works well in drying bay leaves.

Once they are completely dry they can be stored in a jar or zip lock bag we leave ours hanging near the stove and can pluck of a leaf when needed.

 

 

What's growing well in your garden at the moment?  and how you deal with excess produce?

Leave us a comment below we would love to hear.

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