How To Preserve Those Little Batches of Herbs and Vegetables

Cilantro goes to seed so fast, basil starts flowering, and you’ve got a handful of peas — not enough to make a meal, but too much to let go to waste. For these piddly amounts, there’s no point in getting out the canning equipment – or to start blanching and freezing. Our harvests rarely come in batches,  but rather little morsels that we can too easily fritter away.

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Not enough for a meal, but too precious to waste.

There is a simple way you can harvest these little bits of garden treasures, on the fly.

Here are the options we’ve covered so far:

  • You could layer them in salt, which will keep for years — but does use a lot of salt, that you may not always have on hand basilsalt002
  • You can lacto ferment them in salt brine — which is by far the healthiest method, but takes timesusiejDSC_0079
  • There’s the oil method — but you must freeze this to prevent botulismBasil, Susiej

And here’s another way — another ancient way that preserves the color, flavor and vibrancy of herb and vegetables. This is simply a modified version of the salt method — it’s just a little less fussy. At a bonus, the herbs are ready and accessible for you to grab whenever you need them.

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You will need

  • a sterilized glass jar with matching sterilized lid. (Keep these handy and ready to go all summer.)
  • Salt (1 part salt to 6 parts herbs or veggies… it’s time to get that scale)
  • Fresh herbs/veggies
  1. Wash your vegetables, and then lay them out to dry very well on a cotton towel. You can grab them in the morning, wash off the dirt, and then let them sit on the towel for several hours. They must be dry.
  1. When dry, you have the option of mashing, or simply mixing, the herbs/vegetables with the salt. Feel free to go with a pesto-like quality, or just keep them all intact, and covered in the salt.
  2. Put your mixture into the jar, label it, and keep it in the fridge, and continue to add vegetables until the jar is full. Each time, washing, drying and measuring the salt ratio for each batch as added. Once your jar is full, stuff it in the freezer for now, and to start using these fresh jars when winter comes.

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