Last summer, I felt like a farmer. I know that’s a big a stretch, but I was harvesting my herbs and finding different ways to preserve them for use the rest of the year. It was such a worthwhile endeavor; every time I opened one of my jars and the explosion of flavor would pour out, I was thrilled I’d had the forethought and taken the time to make that possible.
A few weeks ago, I posted a section from the herbs and spices section from my soon-to-be-published book Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook. It was a chart that detailed what herbs and spices to use if you want to create flavors inspired by different cultures. It is simple to use and really gives you the freedom to create what you want to eat. The next part of that chapter is about preserving herbs (excerpted below) and now that there is so much bounty growing, this is the time to take advantage of that abundance while it’s available.
Preserving fresh herbs is a great way to infuse your food with great flavor all year long. Summer is the time to take advantage of the abundance of herbs being harvested. Whether you grow your own or shop the farmers markets, you should take advantage of this gift of flavor.
It’s easy to do, doesn’t take a lot of time, and will give you pleasure all year long—your taste buds will be delighted!
Having the herbs you need at your fingertips makes cooking much easier.
The best herbs to dry: marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Dried herbs are three to four times stronger than fresh herbs. They will last longer if stored in a dark dry spot.
Once frozen, the herbs will last 10 to 12 months—just in time for next summer.
©Excerpt from Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook (pages 53–54)
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Having a party again is simply wonderful. Every summer, Mark, my husband, makes a gigantic paella and we invite friends to watch the process (trust me, it is a show) and eat the amazing results. The party always occurs between the 4th of July and the 14th, Bastille Day. Are you wondering why we make a paella to . . .