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Jessica Joy

Knitwear designer and writer

Ideas for Preserving Fresh Herbs

After years of using jars of dried herbs, and fighting for kitchen cupboard space, I decided my little balcony could do with a herb box. And a herb box it now has! Nurtured and donated by my mum the wooden trough houses mint, sage, rosemary, thyme, and a dense forest of parsley.

It came with a hand-written luggage tag of care instructions, which boiled down to water and harvest regularly. This, I could do, but could I eat it all while it was still fresh? Probably not.

Joy the Baker suggests mixing up herb butter, which can be refrigerated for weeks and used on crusty breads… or burgers! A top tip I love, from The Gardener’s Eden, is freezing a few sprigs in olive oil for handy cubes that can be thrown in the pan when you’re cooking. And there’s always condiments; here’s a beautiful video from Kinfolk Magazine demonstrating how to make pesto.

Perhaps even try bundling them up to sell to your neighbours. If you’ve ever been to the Isles of Scilly, you’ll know it’s not unusual for the little island houses to have tables of produce; vegetables, eggs, preserves or handmade crafts at their front gate, alongside a donations box. It’s so charming! I wonder if my neighbours would take to it…

Do you have any tips or suggestions for preserving fresh herbs?

  1. michaela @ says: 8 August 20122:05 pm

    How sweet of you to share the tip for freezing herbs in olive oil cubes by linking the post. Your herb garden looks lovely; particularly inspirational post for balcony growers. Gardens everywhere… That’s my motto! xo Michaela

    • Jess says: 8 August 20122:28 pm

      Hi Michaela, thanks for coming to say hi – and for the great tip! It might be too ambitious for my little balcony but I want veggie boxes now. A girl can dream… :)

  2. Sophie says: 8 August 20123:16 pm

    Ooh, great post! I really want a herb garden on my windowsill in old & vintage tea canisters… forgive the cliche ;)

    Not sure I can make it work in the house I’m in currently, but when I live in a huge house on Vinery Road with a massive farmhouse kitchen I will have my mini herb garden! :))


    • Jess says: 10 August 201212:26 pm

      Not cliched at all, just a very good idea! :)

  3. Mira says: 10 August 201211:47 am

    You could maybe just dry some of the herbs and use them for cooking during the winter? Also, I remember my parents used to do the herb butter many years ago but instead of keeping it in the refridgerator they froze it so it stays good even longer! If you freeze it in small portions you can take them one by one to the refridgerator and use it :)

    • Jess says: 10 August 201212:34 pm

      Oo I hadn’t thought of drying them, thanks Mira. And great tip on freezing the butter. Perhaps there’s a way to portion it into ice cube trays, like the olive oil? That might make it more manageable in a smaller freezer. :)

  4. Alice says: 7 September 20129:27 am

    Yo sis, best thing to do is cut them, tie them in bundles and hang them upside down in a dry place. If you brought them to Welly we could hand them in the bunny room – ? The herb butter post is excellent, they do that in all the restaurants I’ve worked in – galic next year?! A xx

    • Jess says: 7 September 20129:53 am

      Truthfully Als, my little herb box is not so bountiful anymore. The little things got scorched a few weeks ago in the heat and are mear morsels of their former selves. Garlic would be great, and I want to try chillies too!xx

  5. Muma says: 22 January 20145:51 pm

    Hi! I know this is a little late to respond to this post, but it occurred to me that you can restart your herb garden again as soon as you like with garlic…I had great success just plunging any old clove of garlic which had begun to shoot green bits into the earth outside the back door last year…eh voila as they say!!
    Happy gardening xxxxxx

    • Jess says: 23 January 201411:35 am

      Ooo I’m gonna try that! Thanks, Muma :) xxx

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