Monday, July 15, 2013

Preservation: HERB BUTTERS!

Since it's summer and the garden is overflowing with all sorts of greens, it can sometimes be hard to use everything at such a fast pace. Even with a garden like mine own (which is 8 beds shared by me and my family of 5 others), it's difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Mother Nature. I feel like I'm constantly bending my back over the kale and giving the basil constant haircuts. Right now the tomatoes loom over the rest of the garden and have become much taller than any human being. I'm still not sure how I'm going to go searching for tomatoes to harvest. It closely resembles a jungle. 

Butter rolled into cylinders. 
Because of this abundance of greens, I got nervous about how to store them for optimal freshness so I could use them in my shortbreads. I only like to bake them to order so they can be as fresh as possible, but my ingredients from the garden are so temperamental, so I had no idea at first how to preserve them to my advantage. Then it hit me! Herb butters. 
I labeled all of my butters: B for BASIL.

Naturally it made complete sense since a dominant ingredient in the shortbread cookies is butter. So why not do what so many others have done in the past and preserve my summer harvest in fat? I can't think of a better way to keep something fresh, without tarnishing the quality. I gathered the predominant flavors in my shortbreads and got to it! I had so much rosemary, basil, lavender and lemon, and this was the ideal way to halt summer in its tracks. 

It couldn't be more simple:

  • Get your butter (I made mine in batches of 4 ounces AKA 1 stick).
  • Let it get to almost room temperature.
  • Zest your citrus or chop your herbs (about 1-2 tbsp per stick of butter).
  • Stir the herbs and butter well with spatula, then place in the center of a large square of plastic wrap.
  • Fold plastic wrap and roll the butter into a cylindrical shape--make sure to get out any air pockets.
  • Label and place in freezer. 
  • DONE

It's an excellent way to savor your leftover herbs and zests when you don't know what else to do with them. Now I can provide everyone with perfectly flavored summer flavors without fretting about my herbs growing faster than I can harvest!


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