HINTS AND SHORTCUTS
Many of the herbs can be frozen in branches. First wash and pat dry, do not crush, as you will loose a lot of the oils. Place in plastic bags, lay flat and press out gently all of the air and close. When needed, 'break' off the amount desired and chop while frozen. This is a good way to save any amount left over, when purchasing fresh ones from the market. They will keep 2-3 months. Do not freeze basil, as it will turn black. You can however put the basil into a blender, add a small amount of oil, and put in small plastic containers, cover with oil and use in your foods as needed. This is a form of pesto. You can add garlic, chives and other seasonings to make an assortment of pestos. They will keep up to 2 years in the freezer.
Pestos can be made from left over parsley, dill, oregano or cilantro in the same manner. To any of these herbs you can add garlic, chives and a combination of herbs to suit your taste for using in all types of soups, stews and etc.
The small mini-processors or blender is excellent for making pestos or chopping fresh herbs. For dried herbs, the mini-processors, blender or coffee grinder will do a great job of chopping or making into salt substitutes or powders. A mortar and pestle is also good.
In making vinegars, if you will use 2 or 3 leaves of the purple basil along with the sweet green basil, you will obtain a beautiful pink champagne color.
When making the herbal butters, roll them up in 1/4 to 1/2 lb. rolls, just as you do cookie dough and freeze. When ready to use, just cut off the amount needed.
When lemons and limes are run on special, or if you have left overs, wash, dry them, scrape the zest, pack into small plastic tubs and freeze; then squeeze the juice and freeze in ice cube gray and then pack the cubes in bags and freeze for later use.
To make small amounts of Rose Water for use in herbal cakes, cookies and etc., use organically grown, non-sprayed rose petals - red ones if possible. Place in a ceramic, granite or glass pan, cover with bottled water and let simmer on very low heat until color drains from petals. Remove from fire and let cool, strain through a coffee filter and bottle, and place in refrigerator. Use "WITHIN 2 WEEKS". It is wise to make as close to the amount you will need as possible each time. You can gather your organically grown rose petals and dry them and use them in the same manner when the first petals are not available.
Use only organic - home remedies and purchased organic pesticides, fertilizers on your herbs.
In making marinades or viniagrettes, allow the flavors of the herbs, oils and vinegars to marry overnight before using for best results.
One of my favorite preparations for making salads taste better is to mix a prepared vinaigrette with the cut up tomatoes, onions, peppers, cauliflowerettes, brocolli flowerettes, mushrooms and squashes and let set in refrigerator overnight.
The following day, prepare your mixed greens, and pour the marinated veggies over them and toss. In this manner you get all the flavor in the salad, rather than down in the bottom of the bowl.