Throughout the spring and summer, you took special care of your herbs. You cultivated and regularly watered the herbs, and thanks to this they have developed magnificently.

Slowly but surely, your herbs might start to whither and winter is just around the corner. What should you do now with these thriving plants? Ricola has compiled a list of tips to help you better preserve herbs. Even in large quantities, the herbs will last until you are ready to use them when preparing food and drinks. The valuable aromatic herb substances will last longer without losing any of their aromatic flavors.

Drying herbs – the most classic method

Drying is a method suitable for preserving all herbs.

  • Cut the plants, wash carefully and remove any damaged parts.
  • Place the herbs on some kitchen towel and leave to dry in a warm, well-ventilated place.
  • Turn the herbs at least once daily. When you can crush the herbs, they are properly dried.
Ricola tip: It is best to use a dark, airtight container for storage to preserve the valuable aromatic and active substances.

Freezing – almost garden fresh!

Not all herbs are suitable for freezing. Some of the best herbs for freezing are thyme, lemon balm, parsley or chives.

  • Cut the plants, wash them carefully and shake dry on some kitchen towel.
  • Remove any damaged parts and finely chop the herbs.
  • The best method is to fill plastic freezer bags or containers with small portions of the herbs. This prevents all the herbs from defrosting upon use.
Ricola tip: You can also divide portions of the herbs into ice trays for flavoring soup. Pour water over them and freeze. This is the simplest way of preserving herbs to use at a later date.

Vinegar – aromatic herb infusion Herb vinegar

The best herbs to use for this method are thyme, oregano, dill, tarragon or savory.

  • Wash the herbs thoroughly to prevent the formation of wild yeasts and dry well.
  • Then remove the stems so only a few herb sprigs remain.
  • Drench with a mild vinegar, e.g. white wine vinegar, and bring to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat just before the boiling point and leave to infuse for half an hour.
  • Strain the vinegar through a kitchen towel and fill into clean bottles.
  • Before filling the bottles, add the herb sprigs, which were set aside, for decoration.
  • Store the bottle in a dark, cool place.
Ricola tip: It is essential to use glass bottles. If stored in metal or ceramic containers, vinegar can form salts that may be harmful to your health.

Oil – aromatic herb infusion

Almost all herbs commonly used in the kitchen are suitable, e.g. sage, rosemary or thyme.

  • Choose a high quality oil with a neutral flavor such as olive, sunflower, rapeseed or thistle oil.
  • Wash the fresh herbs, remove any marks and dry thoroughly. Preferably, the herbs will be touch dry to avoid the formation of mould due to damp.
  • Fill the herbs into clean, dry and preferably dark glass bottles. Cover the herbs with the oil and seal tight.
  • Leave to infuse in a cool, dark place for approx. 3–4 weeks. Then strain the herb oil through a fine sieve and transfer to fresh clean bottles.
  • Remember to write the date on the bottle and consume the oil within 3–4 months. If the herbs are left for too long, the oil may become cloudy.
Ricola tip: For a flavorsome combination, try a sprig of thyme, oregano and savory, two sage leaves, a young tarragon shoot and a clove of garlic. Bon appétit!