Preserving Herbs in Jars

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For those of you following along with the great can jam of 2010 you know that the food in focus for this month is herbs.

You know what that means? That means in just a couple of weeks from now there will be a bushel full of links right here pointing you to a myriad of ways to preserve herbs in jars!
There are so many different types of culinary herbs and i think i’m in love with every last one of them. they are used in every culture around the world and growing herbs is one of the great pleasures of a kitchen garden. These are three of my all time favorite herb books:
(i know, i know, more books – i can’t help it!)

The herbfarm cookbook by jerry traunfeld This book was a turning point for me. it’s when i realized that herbs don’t have to be wallflowers – they can dance in the middle of the plate. jerry’s extensive experience on growing and cooking with herbs is pretty much unmatched imo.
Your backyard herb garden by miranda smith A great resource for growing your own herbs. it’s a little book with a lot of info. i used it when i first started growing herbs 5 years ago, and i continue to refer to it each year.

herbs & spices: the cook’s reference by jill norman This is a cook’s bible on using herbs and spices. i refer to the ‘good with’ and ‘combines well with’ suggestions often. in addition to the culinary uses there’s helpful info on growing, buying & storing.

There were a couple of questions that came up surrounding the specifics of this month’s entry that i would like to answer here:

The rules state that the food in focus must be integral to the canned product. in the first few months when canning citrus, carrots and alliums it was easy to consider the chosen produce to be the main ingredient. this month’s herbs are a little different and i would interpret integral as being essential to the flavor of the preserve but not necessarily the main ingredient. this will open up a world of possibilities and i hope will allow those in zones where things are beginning to burst from the ground and jump off the trees to take advantage of what’s springing in tandem with the essential herb. and for those of us who are still anticipating spring’s abundance it may offer an opportunity to use up the last of the root-cellared produce.

Finally, herbs are generally considered the leafy green parts of a plant (i would include flowers in here too) while spices are derived from other parts of the plant, particularly the seeds, berries, bark and roots. so while spices are certainly welcome in this month’s entry they are not considered the food in focus and must be in addition to the integral herb.

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