- Make pesto, or other herb-heavy sauces and condiments. Basil reigns at the top of the list for pesto, but cilantro, mint, dill and parsley are all fair game. Mix and match based on your supplies or taste. It’s easy to adapt pesto on the fly, tasting in between additions in your food processor.
Other options on the saucy spectrum: South American chimichurri and Indian chutney. Even a standard vinaigrette can be punched up with herbs.
- Preserve them for the long-term. I find that pesto freezes extraordinarily well (I leave out the cheese and typically use pecans or walnuts instead of pine nuts).
Drying herbs is another possibility. Tie them together in small bunches with twine or string, and hang them in a dry spot with good air circulation.
You want to check them daily, according to “Cooking With Herbs” by Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille, and you’ll know when they’re ready if they crackle and crumble when rubbed between your fingers.
You can extract further moisture by drying them on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Then you can store them — off the stem but still as whole leaves — in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Treat them more like other greens, using them in higher quantities instead of as accents. And you can use the chopped-up stems of many soft herbs.
- Steep them. Herbs can be used to flavor a variety of liquids, for enjoyment now or later. One of the most straightforward is an herbal tea (or ptisan), whether you decide to steep fresh or dried herbs. Feel free to mix and match to come up with your own custom blend.
Another option is to make an aromatic simple syrup, the standard 1-to-1 mix of sugar and water.
- There’s always ice cream. Steep fresh herbs in your cooled, or cooling, ice cream base. Mint naturally goes with chocolate chunks, though you can expand your horizons and think about pairing thyme with lemon and/or honey and basil with blueberry.