Preserve Recipes and Drying Herbs
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Debi
Posted on: September 15, 2003

I was wondering how I could get some recipes of yours that you have listed (Prize Winning). I am also very interested in knowing how you dry herbs.

You will find recipes for my jams, jellies, marmalades, conserves, fruit butters and chutneys, some including fresh herbs such as rosemary, purple basil, lavender or sage, in my book "Prizewinning Preserves". Please visit www. yvonnetremblay.com for more information (may also be purchased from Richters).

Herbs that dry well include rosemary, thyme, sage, savory, basil, lemon verbena, dill, marjoram, mint and tarragon.

You can dry prepared herbs (rinsed and spun dry in a salad spinner or blotted with paper towel) in a paper bag that holes have been poked into for ventilation. Place bag in dry place or cupboard.

As long as you do not overheat them, herbs can also be dried effectively and quickly in the microwave. To microwave dry: Spread herbs (sprigs if leaves are small, such as thyme, tarragon, otherwise remove leaves from stems such as sage) on a layer of 3 sheet of good quality paper towel. Cover with another layer of 2 sheets. Microwave on high for one or two minutes. (Reduce time for high wattage microwaves.) Remove, uncover and check to determine crispness. Move some herbs from the centre to the edges and edges to the centre. If leaves are not crisp, return to oven. Carefully flip paper towel over. The damp paper towel from the bottom will now be on top. Rotate paper towel 90 degrees if your microwaves does not have turntable. Microwave an additional minute or until leaves are dry and very crisp. Remove leaves from stems, if necessary, and store in a covered jar away from heat and light. Do not crush leaves until ready to use. Stored properly, dried herbs should stay fragrant and flavourful until the next season. When dried herbs no longer have a distinct herb scent, they likely will not have much flavour either. I do not dry parsley, chives, chervil and cilantro as they do retain their flavour well. Drying enhances the flavour of oregano.

For more information on drying and freezing herbs as well as how to make herb vinegars, oils, butters, mustards, honey, pesto, etc., and for amazing recipes, see preview of my book "Thyme in the Kitchen – Cooking with Fresh Herbs" (may be ordered from Richters), view at: www.yvonnetremblay.com

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