Herbal tinctures or extracts are an excellent way to store herbs
Herbal tinctures have long been a way to store and preserve herbs as well as many other foods. Also used in early times as medicine, tinctures or extracts are easily produced and can last up to 3 years if properly prepared and bottled. Today it is much easier to produce an extract, and with the proper use of fresh herbs, it can become a staple in your cabinet; here's how.
Prepare your herbs. Only the freshest herbs should be used. Clean them carefully, patting them dry with the paper towels. Place them in a brown paper bag and allow to air dry at least 24 hours. Some wilting will occur, but that's fine.
Sterilize your equipment. It is important to sterilize everything you will be using or that will come in contact with the tincture. Boil your tools at least 20 minutes, then allow to cool. This includes the glass bottles you will be filling later.
Lightly chop the herbs and place into the sterilized glass jar. Fill completely, lightly pressing down if necessary. Fill the jar with either vinegar or vodka making sure to cover the herbs inside completely. Seal tight and store in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth, discarding the used herbs. Repeat Steps 1 and 3 above using the same liquid you just strained. Basically, you are infusing the liquid twice with the essential oils present in the herbs you used. This will give the extract or tincture a stronger essence. While it is not necessarily needed for some herbs to go through the process twice, it is recommended to guarantee potency.
Bottle your extract/tincture in sterilized, dark-colored bottles, making sure to label them with herb used and date processed.