Summer is giving way to fall’s cooler temperatures, and now is the time to harvest the herbs in your garden so that you can preserve them for winter. Herbs need to be harvested before the first frost kills the growth on your plants. Depending on where you live, that first frost might be just around the corner.

There are a few different techniques for drying and preserving herbs, some should be dried while others do well frozen. Here are simple step-by-step instructions for storing your basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. This is an easy weekend project that you can tackle in under an hour. 

Preserving Summer Herbs


Freeze sage in butter.
Rinse any dirt off the leaves. Pull the sage leaves off the stems, place them in an ice cube tray, and then pour melted butter over. When you are ready to use the frozen sage, just melt the sage butter in a small saucepan, and you will have a fantastic sage butter sauce to pour over pasta or butternut squash.

Preserving Summer Herbs

Oregano and Basil

Use ice cube trays to freeze these herbs in olive oil.
You can either freeze these herbs together, or separately. First clean the herbs by rinsing in water. Then chop the basil, and pull the oregano off the stems. Place the herbs in ice cube trays. You want the trays to be full, but not tightly packed. Pour olive oil over the herbs, filling the ice cube tray. Place in the freezer and use throughout the winter adding the herb and olive oil cubes to soups and sauces. 

Preserving Summer Herbs

Rosemary and Thyme

Let these herbs slowly air dry.
Rinse the herbs removing any dirt, and lightly blot with a towel to dry. Simply tie the herbs into small bunches, and then hang in a cool dry place.

The herbs are fully dried once they are brittle and crumble. At this point, remove the leaves from the stem, being careful not to crush the leaves, as this will cause the herbs to loose flavor. Store the leaves in a small airtight container; keep in a cool dry place.

Dried herbs can be used for a year.

Preserving Summer Herbs

Kitt Graham

Kit Graham spends her time cooking up new creations in her kitchen and exploring Chicago’s ever-evolving culinary scene. She began blogging in 2011 when her friends gifted her a blog as a way to get her to share her recipes. In 2013, Kit wrote her first cookbook, The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook, which is an ode to her favorite meal from childhood. Kit was raised in Kennebunk, Maine, went to college in Massachusetts, and lived in New York City before settling in the Windy City. For more, head over to where Kit shares original and practical recipes and Chicago restaurant reviews.

Kit is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.