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Summer herbs will remind you of warmer weather all through winter

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As we hurtle towards winter, we feel as if we are trying our hardest to hang on to the scents and taste of the sunshine – the little hits of vitamins that start to deplete in our diet over the winter months.

I’m thinking of those fresh, bright flavours that you find all summer long in your salad, and there are some really simple ways of preserving your garden herbs for winter.

The woodier, hardier herbs – thyme, rosemary and sage – should hopefully survive all winter long in your garden – providing they are somewhere sheltered and not too prone to deep, long frosts.

My grandfather, Robert Wilson, would tell us that the perfect location for a herb garden is west facing, with pretty average soil… and close enough to the kitchen door that you can reach it in your baffies.

But it’s the softies – chervil, parsley, tarragon and dill – that are going to “turn in” for winter. There are a few simple ways to keep them going in their gorgeous, fragrant fresh states, throughout the winter.

Softer herbs hold all of their “goodness” and their flavour in the volatiles which reside relatively close to the surface. So when dried, these volatiles are released and lost from the herb.

If we can find ways to preserve our summer herb gardens without drying them, we’re on to a winner. Try chopping your softer herbs finely, and mixing a dash of olive oil in with them, then pack into an ice cube tray… a parsley tray (parsley sauce with glazed ham), a dill tray, a tarragon tray (for your cosy winter tarragon chicken).

Anna Lamotte.

That way, when you need a certain herb, all you do is pop a cube out. You can also make herb mix cubes- so when you fancy an omelette aux fines herbes… you pop out a cube of chervil, tarragon, parsley and chives.

You can also freeze fresh herbs on a tray (they occasionally lose their vibrant green but hold their flavour). Chop up your chosen herb and spread out on a tray, or lay the whole thing flat on a tray.

Place that in the freezer and, once frozen, crumble into a box or bag to store safely in the freezer, ready for a pinch here or there. If there’s one thing to keep summer going through winter, our Guardswell Farm vote is with fresh herbs!

Read more in this series:

Season’s Eatings: Tomatoes prove fruitful when kept out of the fridge

Food Blogger: A lifelong fascination with the humble squash

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