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Oils and Preserves

Preserves, Vinegars & Oils


Now you have grown all these fantastic herbs and you have lots of supply, what can you do with them? There are lots of different directions you could go but the easiest things to try are Herb Oils, Vinegars and Preserves. Oils can be used for cooking and dressing salads, vinegars can also be used like oils and can also be used to marinate food and added to sauces. Preserves are a great way of using up lots of fresh herbs making chutneys and salsas. Here are a few recipes you could try.


With oils make sure your jar is clean and dry with a good tight fitting lid.


Basil Oil


1litre of good quality olive or sunflower oil

8 tablespoons of basil

Remove the stalks and any poor leaves. Crush the leaves in a mortar with a little oil to release their flavour then mix with the remaining oil and pour into a large jar. Seal tightly to avoid contact with the air. Place the jar in a sunny spot and shake it every second day for two weeks. Then strain through muslin into the bottle of your choice adding a few leaves for decorative purposes. Add a pretty label.

This recipe also works well with Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage and Garlic. You can also use a mix of your favourite herbs and make Italian oil.

You can also make spice oils using the seeds of Coriander, Dill or Fennel.


Herb Vinegars


Vinegars are very simple to make and this is an easy cheat version!

1 bottle of White Wine Vinegar

4 large sprigs of your chosen herb

Some garlic cloves

Pour off some of the vinegar from the bottle and push in the sprigs of herbs and garlic cloves. Reseal tightly and leave in a sunny spot for two weeks. Drain the vinegar into your bottle of choice and add a sprig or two of your herb for decoration. Label clearly.

You could also use Coriander seeds to make a seed vinegar so don’t be afraid to experiment with what you have.



Coriander Chutney (by Jekka McVicar)


This is a fantastic chutney recipe, bags of flavour and goes with almost anything.

Makes 2 1lb Jars

2lbs of cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1lb of white onions, chopped                                                                      



Garlic cloves, crushed

1 red & 1 green pepper deseeded and sliced         

1 and a half pints of red wine vinegar

1lb of brown sugar

Half a teaspoon of coriander seed

6 black peppercorns and 6 all spice berries wrapped tightly in muslin

2oz of root ginger, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons of coriander leaf and mint leaves

Combine the apples, onions, garlic and peppers in a large saucepan. Add the vinegar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes until everything is soft. Add the brown sugar and the muslin bag of seeds and berries. Add the ginger. Heat, stirring gently all the time till the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow to thicken. This could take up to an hour so keep an eye on it. Finally add the mint and coriander and spoon into hot sterilized jars. Seal immediately and label once the jars have cooled.



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