Making use of excess herbs

What happens if you have more herbs than you can possibly use? I often have people asking me questions like these:

  • “What can I do with all the Eau De Cologne mint I have at the moment?”
  •  “What can I do with the abundance of chillies in my garden at the moment?”
  • “How do I store basil so I can use it in winter?”
  • “Can I dry all the parsley I have at present? I cannot eat it fast enough.”


Make food with your excess herbs

  • Herb vinegars for use in the kitchen and giving away as gifts. Best herbs to use are rosemary, tarragon and horseradish.
  • Herb butters which you can freeze. Use parsley, garlic, marjoram for steaks; rosemary, chervil, tarragon, fennel and dill for fish; basil for beans.
  • Herb oils, made by steeping fresh chopped herbs in cold pressed olive oil. Use rosemary, garlic, chillies. Store in recycled, sterilised jars.
  • Sorbet to freeze for future dinner parties.  Use mint or rose pelargonium.
  • Chutney using added mint, garlic, chilies,  thyme or marjoram.
  • Herbed yoghurt or cheese can be made by adding herbs to store bought or home made dairy products. Best herbs to use are chives, coriander dill, parsley, tarragon, or mint with some finely sliced spring onions.
  • Herb ice cubes made by freezing parsley, dill or tarragon in water.

Dry and use your herbs

  • Bouquet Garni, made from a small bunch of  parsley, two bay leaves and a sprig of thyme.
  • Teas made with different herbs. Peppermint is uplifting; lemon grass, lemon verbena and  lemon balm are relaxing; thyme and sage can be used for coughs and cold)
  • Sleep pillows  filled with herbs such as lavender, marjoram, chamomile, honeysuckle, lady’s bed straw, lemon verbena or marjoram.
  • Scented bath bags made by recycling an old, clean odd sock and filling with rosemary, lavender flowers, pineapple mint, eau de cologne mint, rose petals or rose pelargonium.

Some herbs dry better than others. A few, including  parsley, dill and tarragon, taste like cardboard when they are dried.

Tips when working with herbs in the kitchen

  • Cut chives with a kitchen scissors and do not chop them.
  • Never cut basil with a knife, as the herb turns black. Break or pull apart with your fingers.
  • Always wash herbs as soon as you purchase them or pick from your garden. Wash in cold water with apple cider vinegar. Soak and allow to drain. Store in sealed container till required. Can last up to two weeks.