12 things you didn’t know you could do with leftover herbs

Posted by Ella Buchan on 19 August 2016

Credit:  merc67

So many recipes call for small quantities of fresh herbs, often leaving us with half-used bags of wilting, yellowing leaves in the fridge.

Don’t let all that aromatic foliage go to waste. Chop up and freeze anything you’re unlikely to use in zip-lock bags. Then check out these inventive recipes...

Throw into a salad

Make herbs the star, rather than the extra, in your salad. Finely chop handfuls of coriander, mint, parsley and tarragon (whatever you have lying around) and add to salad leaves or spinach with tomatoes.

Delicious tossed into grains like couscous or bulgur wheat, too. Try this herb-packed recipe at Lauren Caris Cooks.

Lauren Caris Cooks

Make chimichurri

Any and every herb is packed into this aromatic green sauce, originally from Argentina. It will lift and add zing to anything, from plain grilled veggies to juicy steak and even a humble pasty or pie.

Gimme Some Oven

Herby syrup

Add fresh herbs to equal parts water and sugar, bring to the boil and stir until dissolved. Once cooled, strain and decant the liquid into a glass bottle or jar.

Use to sweeten cocktails, sparkling water and coffee. Try this rosemary syrup from Sweet Remedy which should keep for up to a month in the fridge.

Herby syrup
Samantha Seeley/Sweet Remedy

Use your loaf

Jazz up loaves and bread buns by throwing handfuls of chopped herbs into your dough before rising. Or try adding a little to shortcrust pastry before rolling out for a savoury pie.

These cheesy herb rolls from oh, sweet basil are wondrous.

Bread loaf
oh, sweet basil

Infuse oil

Add herb stems to olive oil, leave to infuse for a few days before drizzling on... anything, really.

Especially gorgeous on salads, grilled meat or fish and it will keep for around a month in the fridge.

Herb infused oil
Shutterstock via: Gts

Perk up pancakes

Make a savoury batter by leaving out the sugar and throwing in chopped mixed herbs instead. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or cream cheese.

Try these mouthwatering crepes by Fig & Honey.

Herb pancakes
Fig & Honey

Hey pesto

It’s not just a basil thing. Any herbs, especially parsley and coriander, make a delicious herby sauce. Empty out all those packets to make a mixture.

This recipe from The Garlic Diaries uses coriander and cashews. Equally good on grilled fish as stirred into spaghetti.

Parsley pesto
The Garlic Diaries

Butter them up

Let a pack of butter soften at room temperature, then whip in finely-chopped herbs. Roll up in cling film or greaseproof paper and refrigerate, cutting off slices to melt into steak, potatoes or seafood dishes - or just to spread on hunks of crusty bread.

Herb butter
Shutterstock via: rukxstockphoto

Hang them out to dry

Tie in bunches (a rubber band will do) and hang upside down in a cool, airy room - a shed or garage is perfect. After a few days, once dry, crumble into small jars and simply use as dried herbs.

Drying herbs
Shutterstock via: angelakatharina

Freeze in cubes

Press chopped herbs into ice-cube trays, cover with boiling water or olive oil and freeze. Ready to drop into recipes as needed.

Herb ice cubes
Shutterstock via: Anetu-Gu

Wake up water

Add fresh herbs to a jug, fill with water and chill in the fridge. Much more delicious than plain old water and it will keep for up to week - becoming tastier as time goes on.

Try cucumber with mint, rosemary with ginger or coriander with lime.

Cocktail with mint
Shutterstock via: Anna_Pustynnikova

Go back to your roots

Use herb stems or roots to add flavour to stews, soups and sauces. Remove thicker stems from woody herbs like rosemary before serving.

Great for making chicken or veg stock, too. Simply keep leftover scraps and stems in a bag in the freezer, and throw in the pot with onions, carrots, celery and water.

Shutterstock via: Pinkyone

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