Having a summer garden, or even a winter greenhouse adds an extra measure of flavor to all we cook, but if you don't have the space, or the "thumb," to grow your own, then simply buy fresh herbs during the summer months, from the multitude of farmers markets, designate a day to food prep, and you will have jars and jars, logs and logs, and frozen cubes of flavors to last throughout the year, and be ready for many flavorful meals during your busy week.
- Pesto, made from any fresh herbs. Nuts or seeds, with any oil, or spices you enjoy in your food.
- Vinegar prepared from fresh herbs, garlic, citrus rinds, fruits, or chili peppers, left to seep for a few days in a glass bottle with any of your favorite vinegars: apple cider, rice, champagne, wine, or just plain clear.
- Butter or Cheese logs, from any butter of your choice, soft cheeses, palm oil, or coconut oil. Flavor with absolutely anything you can imagine: olives, roasted peppers, capers, artichokes, fresh herbs, nuts, grated cheeses, chilies, anchovies, garlic, curry, bacon, and citrus are all delicious for savory flavored butter, or brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, nuts, chocolate, stevia, cinnamon, ground apples, pumpkin, nutmeg, fresh ginger, cloves, or even chilies mixed in with the bunch, for sweet flavored butters,
Most of these “do-ahead” flavors, can be stored in the fridge for several weeks, or in the freezer for several months.
For the pesto or flavored butter: simply throw everything in a food processor, or blender, and puree. Roll into a log with parchment paper, portion into small zip bags of airtight containers, or simply put into ice trays, freeze, and once frozen store in airtight containers.
For the vinegar: simply place into a container the flavors you will use, pour the vinegar to fill the container, let seep for about a week and your flavored vinegar is ready. Any glass jar or bottle with a lid will work perfectly. Be thrifty and save all your glass jars from supermarket purchases, remove the labels, and there ya go!