Herbs and spices are well-known and have had a presence at the dining table for a very long time. Unlike exotic spices, brought from faraway lands, these grew everywhere nearby - in the gardens, forests, plains. They also possessed healing properties.
They were used in the Middle Ages by monks and healers. In fact, Charlemagne even ordered to have a list created of all the herbs and spices that grew on the lands under his reign.
Today, every homemaker is familiar with herbs and spices and they are widely used in cuisine. Here's several ways we can store them for the winter.
Drying in a paper bag
Put the herbs and spices together in bunches. Place the upper part with the flowers and leaves in a paper bag and tie it so that the stems remain outside. Hang the paper bag up, with the stems pointing up, so that the fragrant oils seep down toward the leaves. After about 15 days, cut the stems off, with the small branches with leaves and flowers remaining in the bag. Before use, you can crumble the amount that you need from the bunches.
Drying in the oven
Arrange the spices on the oven rack or in an oven dish. The oven door needs to be slightly open and the oven set to no higher than 90°F (30 °C). Once the leaves and flowers dry, you can collect them and put them in glass or ceramic containers.
Drying in the microwave
Remove the hard part of the spices' stems, break the rest into small branches. Lay out a napkin along the bottom of a shallow plate and place a cup of cold water in the middle. Arrange the spices all around it. Put the plate in the microwave, turn it up as high as possible. Once they dry a bit, arrange the spices onto another napkin to cool. Crumble them from the branches and store in suitable containers.
Freezing in the freezer
Parboil the fresh herbs with boiling water, then dip them in cold water immediately. After blanching, dry them, put them in a plastic bag and freeze. You can also cut them finely and put them in ice trays. Pour in a little water into the trays. This way you'll always have cubes of fresh spices available.