When we buy fresh spices or herbs it is important to take some precautions when storing them, so as to preserve the maximum flavor, aroma and freshness of their essential oil.
Here are some tips:
Fresh herbs can grow in a pot on the balcony or in the window. With some sun they grow very fast and require very little care.
Cultivating them at home is ideal to always have them fresh and handy and to use as much as we need. We also can get fresh herbs in some markets or grocery. In this case there are several ways to preserve them. We can keep the leaves clean and dry wrapped in moist kitchen paper inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
If what we have is a bouquet we can put it in a jar with water (as if it were a vase) and wrap it with a plastic bag, and so we keep them in the fridge.
Finally, we can dehydrate them at home. For this, we tie the bouquet and hang it in a cool and dry place until it is dry. It is important that at this stage they do not receive sunlight directly and that they hang in a place with the good air current. Once dry, it should be stored in a dark, airtight jar.
Both spices and dried herbs are altered by heat, light, and humidity.
This is why it is very important to always keep them in airtight jars in a cool and dark place.
Ideally, the jars are dark, to avoid the passage of light completely.
- In oil:
We can keep the fresh herbs them in oil.
It is important to wash the fresh herbs well and dry them very well, since the water favors the processes of rancidity of the oil. Once clean and dry we chop and cover with oil, and let stand in a dark and cool place.
We can also do it with dry spices. This technique is highly recommended to perform with chili peppers, since later allows us to better dose its use.
We place the branches of herbs and spices dry or fresh (in this case previously washed and drained) in jars, we cover them with the vinegar that we want to aromatize and keep in the shelter of light and heat. Let stand at least two weeks before using.
Some authors recommend freezing, previously washed and dried, them in a suitable freezer pouch. This method is useful for when we have a lot of fresh herbs.
Logically we will lose the original freshness and texture when thawing, which I recommend then use them to season soups or casseroles or dishes that require cooking.
With these various techniques we will be able to incorporate the spices in different ways to our preparations, always taking care of the aromas and preserving their quality.