The temperature has dipped into the low 20′s in the last few nights, and I have been trying to rescue what herbs had remained in the garden. Unfortunately over this glorious summer, rooting porkers, scratching chickens or nibbling bunnies had decimated whatever produce I had, but there were a few survivors which I want to preserve.
Having preserved herbs on hand is probably my favorite trick for everything I make, and most herbs have one particular method of preserving which suits them best, either drying, preserving in oil, freezing in oil, or preserving in apple cider vinegar.
Preserving Herbs in Apple Cider Vinegar
I only had one rosemary survivor of the porker-root-up. Rosemary loves heat to grow luxuriously, which we don’t have here, so I clipped it back as hard as I could, but only had enough for one pint jar. Before the temperatures drop too low in the next week or so I will dig up the plant and bring it inside for the winter.
Clip the stems so you fill a jar tightly and that none of the stems are sticking above about 1/2″ from the top of the jar.
I also had a pitiful plant of French Tarragon which was at the end of blooming, but that hint of flavor in a Béarnaise is rapturous and definitely worth saving.
Fill the jars as tightly as you can with herbs and fill up to the top with raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Push down any stems so all the herbs are under the liquid.
Store in the refrigerator and add some of the herb infused vinegar to a special sauce, dressing, mayonnaise, aoli or just add to water instead of plain ACV for almost anything that ails you. You say that you still do not make your own salad dressings? Sally Fallon in Mary Enig’s life changing research called The Oiling of America will hopefully convince you otherwise. You can order it here.
You do not have to store in the refrigerator, but I find that the fresh herbs retain their shape and color much better this way and I like to use the herbs as well as the infused vinegar. Top off with more ACV periodically and enjoy herbs this way for over 6 months.
Sage is my all time favorite herb to preserve this way, but I add raw honey to the ACV for amazing sweet and hot, sagey flavor. I used to grow loads of sage in my garden in Dallas, because it loves the heat, but alas, I have not been able to grow much here. This year I cheated and found about 15 nursery sage plants that were discounted for a dollar. One plant certainly had more sage on it than a tiny bunch of sage to purchase, so it turned out to be a real money saver. Don’t pass up an opportunity to rescue any herb and preserve the flavor in this way. (Make sure you wash well if you buy herbs this way.)