Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Preserving Herbs

Here in the Catican Compound, we have two very nice raised beds where we grow herbs and vegetables. We've got a couple of herbs that are not only huge, but rarely used. It's time to harvest and preserve them to free up the space for more interesting things.

I spent some time noodling around the Interweb Tubes and came up with this video.

While I don't like the microwave idea, I love the freezing idea. I would think that freezing them would work perfectly. The expansion of the water would wreck the cell walls of the plant material, but since all you're really after are the aromatic oils, I can't see how those would be broken down by freezing at all. In fact, breaking the cell walls would probably help to release the oils once the herb was thawed and cooking.


tim eisele said...

Well, hey, if all you want is the aromatic oils, maybe it would be good to try distilling them. Think of the space you'd save! "Distilling Herbs" turns up a bunch of how-to videos, so this is probably reasonably practical, too.

Totally unrelated - a few days ago you had a posting about Mormons that I thought was interesting, but which seems to have vanished again. Did Blogger eat it, or did you decide that it wasn't quite ready to put up yet?

K T Cat said...

Tim, I'm reworking that post. It was unnecessarily nasty. What I meant it to deal with was the discovery of my own bigotries through logical constructs. Nastiness towards Mormons was the exact opposite of what I felt, but that's what seemed to come through.

Thanks for the tips on the distilling of herbs. I thought of that, but then I'd be lost as to the measuring of the ingredients in recipes. Plus, there is visual and tactile pleasure in sprinkling little dried bits of green into a pot.

tim eisele said...

"there is visual and tactile pleasure in sprinkling little dried bits of green into a pot."

True enough. Of course there is also visual and tactile pleasure in putting together a glass and metal construct, carefully heating it, and watching it gurgle and chuckle to itself as it pulls the essence out of a mass of greenery. So it's just a question of which pleasure one wants at the moment :-)

This is kind of related to my attitude towards alcoholic beverages. On the one hand, I love the idea of assembling the apparatus and running the process of fermentation and distillation to produce various exotic and sometimes beautiful liquids. But, on the other hand, I think that alcohol tastes incredibly foul, and so I don't want to actually drink the stuff or anything.

Like the possibly apocryphal story about Louis Pasteur, who supposedly didn't actually like beer:

"Pasteur was asked to help improve the yeast fermentation in a brewery. The brewmaster sampled a batch of beer made using Pasteur's recommendations, smacked his lips, and said 'This is perfect!' Pasteur then took a taste, made a face, and then put a drop under the microscope, looked at it for a minute, and exclaimed, 'You're right, it is perfect!'"