Sunday, July 13, 2014
Tips on Buying Fresh Tender Herbs in Season at Farmer's Market and How to Get the Best Use of Them
Tips on Buying Fresh Tender Herbs in Season at Farmer's Market and How to Get the Best Use of Them Lex Loeb Contributor Network . Buying fresh herbs at a farmers market often leads to regrets because a lot of people don't really know what to do with them after purchasing. The price is right and the volume purchased is usually more than what can be used for a single meal. Basil can be the exception if one is going to make a fresh pesto immediate or with in a few days. Buying fresh herbs and tender herbs like peppermint or herbs in their flowering state or basic basil in bulk at the farmers market can give you happy returns though out an entire year and little waste if you consider these tips on how to process and use them.There are two separate methods of preparation, drying, and freezing. Drying is an excellent way to preserve bulk herbs for extended long term use. The best way to proceed is just to bundle the herbs by the stem using string or wire or one of those vinyl covered kitchen ties. Then you hang the herbs upside down from the ceiling or a hook hanging down from a rafter in a well ventilated dry space. When hanging do not allow the bunch of herbs to touch a wall or anything else. As soon as they are completely dry remove form the ceiling and bag because leaving them there longer term may be ornamental but will allow them to collect dust which is no good for consumption or use Wait till the herbs are completely dry including the stems and place them in a zip-lock bag. There you can lightly seal and crush the leaves off the stems or leave hole. Store in a cool dry place for long term use. This works best for herbs like, peppermint, spearmint, sage, lavender, lovage, bay leaf, thyme, chives, and more. Once in the bag the dry herbs are relatively easy to crumble just by squeezing the bag or by using your fingers directly. You can discard the stems or sometimes they are useful for Barbeque's . Dried hers can be used in sashes. To make a sashes' just get some cheese cloth and wrap various herbs or mixtures with in and then seal with a tight ribbon tape or a knot in the cheese cloth. This was originally a means of keeping insects out of linen drawers and clothing closets. Sashes were the original mothballs. They are non chemical and fairly effective. Some farmers market visitors buy fresh chestnut tree leaves and branches to dry because spiders apparently do not like chestnut trees. One never sees a spider web in a chestnut tree. Try dried chestnut leaves in sashes to ward away spider in the home. Lavender is still the dominant scent added to laundry detergents as a throw back to the original mothballs. It is also the dominant ingredient in most sashes. Dried herbs can be used to infuse in tea for a hint of mint or experiment with other herbs to taste. Just add a tiny pinch with an ordinary tea bag of regular British Blend tea and it works just fine. You can also dry orange and lemon peal and add a small amount of that to brew the tea with . Remove before drinking. The second method is freezing. This works best for the tender seasonal herbs like basil and parsley. Its not really best for garnishing but for finishing dishes where some cooking is still required. To freeze herbs simply take a bunch and rinse it under some running water and then let most of the water run and drip off of it. Shake a bit over the sink and then place in a zip lock bag with the herbs still damp and freeze immediately. It will not take long to freeze. Once frozen take the bag out of the freezer and you will see how easy it is to crumble the contents or leave as whole bunches in the freezer if you have sufficient room there to store in a more intact manner. Even the stems of herbs like parsley and basil will crumble thanks to the coating of ice left on them by having been rinsed before freezing. This works well for basil, parsley, Italian parsley, sage, thyme, lovage, cilantro chives and other you might think of. Just seal the zip lock bag in the freezer and label the exterior so you remember which herb is which without having to reopen the bags to find out. The herbs will last frozen for more than a year in perfect condition. Frozen herbs like basil and parsley are best used in dishes like spaghetti. After boiling spaghetti and straining it you would add the frozen basil or the frozen parsley for best results. Its good to reheat after adding the sauce if not heated to begin with. Dried herbs like rosemary and either fresh or dried lemon, orange peal work great for the boiling stage of spaghetti and other noodles . Remove the orange or lemon peal before consumptions. It leaves a hint of taste in the spaghetti during the boiling process. Dried mushrooms are also added in the boiling phase but not removed after straining. These are just a few tips from a an actual herb grower who has sold various bulk herbs in farmers markets for a number of years. Buying the fresh herbs you like in season in bulk is a great way to save money over the whole year especially if you dry or freeze. Freezing is the preferable method as herbs stay fresh in the freezer longer than most other items. .