This summer, I was overwhelmed with tarragon. Forced to cut the plants back hard just so the plants around them could thrive. Very little went to waste, thankfully. I handed out plenty to friends, and turned to my other go-to methods. (It was pretty tedious to de-stem that much tarragon – think like an armful load.)
I don’t dry herbs very often – A love of fresh herbs? A misplaced wariness of their dried counterparts flavor? The mess the process makes? All the above?
But here are my go-to’s, and honestly they are all pretty self-explanatory!
Herbs+Butter! This year I made a point to use unsalted butter, I can’t recall what I used before. I like herb butter especially for tarragon and thyme, if I had more rosemary I would probably include that too. I de-stem the herbs, and mix in with very soft-nearly melted butter. You could chop if you’d like, this year I didn’t. Easily a cup of herbs to a 1/4# of butter, I want a lot of herbs in mine. After the initial mix I pop the bowl in the fridge to get the butter to firm up. After that, I roll into a log in parchment paper and freeze.
We like to cut coins of herb butter off and use when browning meat. (In my experience however, sage butter+beef gives off a gamey vibe.)
Herbs+Vinegar! I packed two quart jars fairly full of tarragon—the woodiest stems removed—and topped with white vinegar. They have been sitting in my pantry for a few weeks now, and maybe next weekend I’ll strain the tarragon out. Or at least check on the flavor. ACV or white wine vinegar would be great choices here too.
Herb Salt (Herbes Salees)
Herbs+Salt! I learned this method from WellPreserved.ca and it has a “fermentation” element to it of sorts. I’ve done it with parsley in the past and just made a jar with lovage—a peculiar cousin of parsley with a very parsley/celery vibe that I’ve had a hard time pinning down for preserving. Finely chop, or pulse in a processor, and layer the herbs with coarse kosher salt. Once fully layer, shake up and stick in the fridge! I had a jar of parsley salt last me a good couple of years.