Cooking with fresh ingredients is one of the best things about summer. When you have a vegetable garden or even a windowsill herb garden, you can bring the flavors of summer into your home all year long by preserving summer herbs for use in the fall and winter.
We’re lucky to have a large plot of land to grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and plants. I try to preserve as many of the fresh herbs as possible. The herbs I love to preserve for summer flavors any time are basil, oregano, borage, and turmeric.
An easy way to preserve basil is by making basil pesto and canning it for later use. It’s wonderful on flatbread in the winter when you’re dreaming of something fresh! Pesto is made by blending basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and some salt and pepper.
I also love using basil as long as I can in the growing season because it’s a very hearty herb and sticks around as long as it has sunlight. The easiest and most satisfying way to eat basil is by making a caprese salad. Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and torn basil leaves are summer in a bowl. Add a little olive oil and pepper for a fresh dish. We also love to grill zucchini and top it with pine nuts, feta cheese, and chopped basil leaves.
Finally, you can dry fresh basil to use later. Simply dry your basil leaves in a bunch hanging upside down or spread flat on a baking sheet. Take care not to leave it in a drafty space or you’ll have more basil on the floor than in your cupboard! When it’s completely dry, crush the leaves and store in a glass jar in a cool, dark space with the rest of your herbs.
Oregano is another herb that reminds me of summer, but it also appears in lots of fall recipes. Its sweetness and warmth complement roasted veggies very well. Like basil, oregano is an herb to preserve for later use. Dry and store as you would basil.
You may also want to keep oregano around for its health benefits*. Oregano is high in antioxidants and just one teaspoon of dried oregano can fulfill about 8% of your daily vitamin K needs. Antioxidants are essential to maintaining good health. They attack free radicals that come into your body and damage your cells.
Borage may be new to you. It’s found across the United States and Europe and borage oil is rich in gamma-linoleic acid (a type of essential fatty acid)**. It is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and is typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, chest congestion, and coughs. This is great to have around if you feel a cold or joint pain coming on.
It’s in my Autumn Equinox Bundle for you along with a hand-crafted selection of items to help you transition into the new season with ease.
Golden Milk is so popular right now. It gets its name from turmeric, a brightly colored root similar in appearance to ginger. It has an earthier flavor, though, and the curcumin found in turmeric makes it a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
While you can grow both turmeric and ginger in any climate, most people don’t have it growing in their yard. I still want to include it in this list of summer herbs because of its amazing health benefits and how it can support your immune system as we transition into colder months.
Turmeric is the main ingredient in my Warm Turmeric Spice for a good reason. Along with boosting your immunity and easing inflammation, it can also help control bloating and gas. Serve this after dinner or drink when you have a big date planned!
I’ve added some black pepper to the Warm Turmeric Spice blend as well. It’s essential for your body to absorb and effectively use the curcumin compound. It also aids even further in stimulating your body and provides another layer of warmth in the spice blend.
This is a great addition to a crisp fall night. You’ll love a mug of this warming spice blend on a cold night, so be sure to order it to have on hand for when you feel a tickle of a cold coming on!
Those are a few of my favorite ways to bring summer herbs into fall. Using them to make your dishes more reminiscent of summer or to help boost your immune system. What’s your favorite way to preserve the fresh flavors of summer?