I have been harvesting my herbs for awhile now both for immediate use and for preserving for later.
Many herbs I just pop into a freezer bag and put in the freezer. This winter I can just take out the amount I need for a recipe. After freezing they easily crumble into whatever dish I am creating. I use them fresh from the bag without thawing first. I also prepare some by drying. In this case I rinse them off and set them on the trays of my dehydrator. I don’t turn the dehydrator on. At room temperature in my dry climate they are usually dry in a day or so. I then seal them in storage bags or glass jars and store in a cool dry place. Again, I don’t crumble them but leave them as whole as possible to preserve as much as the oils as possible.
Of the many herbs I use fresh from the garden basil is one of my favorite. I don’t think you can ever have too much basil. When using herbs don’t be afraid to experiment. As long as you know it is edible and does not cause any problems for you specifically (such as allergic reactions) feel free to try different combinations and see what you think. I love fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, chives, and cheese in my scrambled eggs. Another way I love basil is to layer fresh zucchini, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and green onions in a glass pie pan and bake in the oven until the zucchini is tender. Sometimes I top it with cheese before baking. Since it is almost time to eat I think I will go prepare some right now.
Herbs have been a love of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was young the only herb I remember using fresh was parsley. Dried oregano was something I always added to pasta sauce although my mom thought I added too much. I love the smells and tastes of herbs whether fresh or dried. Learning about herbs is an ongoing process for me. I have been compiling a list of herb resources that you may want to check out. If you know of any sites to add please let me know.
I have begun harvesting herbs for drying. In my climate it is fairly easy to just lay the herbs on screening and let them dry. I use trays from my dehydrator. The air has been warm enough and lacking in humidity so the herbs have dried very well in a short period of time. I could use my dehydrator since it has a low temperature setting but with the warm weather we have had I felt the herbs would dry quickly enough. I place the trays out of direct sunlight and check them a few times per day. So far this season I have dried oregano, dwarf oregano, thyme, lemon thyme, spearmint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, applemint, rose petals, and sage. Herbs can also be hung upside down for drying.