Maximize Those Leftover Herbs
What do you do when you’ve bought cilantro or dill or tarragon for a recipe and now have a half a bunch of herbs languishing in your refrigerator? Don’t let them go to waste; instead try some ideas from our food editors.
First off: Pesto. And think beyond basil: Use any combination of tender herbs, such as parsley, mint, and cilantro, and your choice of nuts to make Leftover-Herb Pesto.
The Whole Leaf
Dress up your favorite potato salad by adding herbs. Laura likes this light, flavorful recipe that uses chives, chervil, and tarragon, but use whatever you have.
Just a Pinch
A mix of herbs or a pinch of one will add bright, green flavors to a grain salad like this quinoa one. Our barley salad is all about the herbs; just be easygoing about which ones you use.
Use leftover herbs to flavor yogurt cheese. Experiment with different ratios to see what you like best — or just use whatever mix the fridge holds!
The classic use for leftover herbs is to chop them and fold them into butter. Keep the herb butter in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for several months.
A Finishing Touch
Food editor Greg Lofts’ favorite way to use up herbs is to gently warm olive oil in a pan and add the herbs to the oil, then let it cool down before straining. This makes an herb-infused oil for vinaigrettes or to use as a finishing oil.
Use your oil in this Classic Vinaigrette or whisk three to four parts herb-infused oil into one part red- or white-wine vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
The Sweet Way
Sweeten lemonade and tea with an herbal simple syrup -– or just mix the herbal syrup with sparkling water or soda for a refreshing summer drink. Greg recommends using leftover mint, basil, tarragon, or cilantro for this: “Add a handful of herbs in with equal amounts sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool to room temp, strain, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.”
Got a sprig or two? Add them to a cocktail as a flavorful garnish. We like tarragon in a grown-up blueberry frappe and basil with watermelon in a margarita. This is definitely a place to experiment.
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