If you grow herbs, you may be in the same quandary as I am: what to do with them all?
I have a food dryer, so I dry those herbs that retain some flavor after drying. While Mark Bittman claims that dried basil doesn't have any flavor, I beg to disagree. I have some basil in the dryer right now. I'm also stashing some pesto in the freezer--more on that later. I'll be drying thyme later today, and have already put by some tarragon and sage.
We bring our rosemary plant in every fall, so I don't dry rosemary. I just cut the fresh stuff whenever I need some, all winter long. Same with the bay plant. We just dig them up, pot them, and put them in the east windows. I should really try potting some other herbs to have a supply of fresh leaves in winter and early spring.
Herb-infused vinegars are a great way to use any surfeit of herbs. I made a batch of basil and garlic vinegar using purple basil--the color is a deep purple-red, just beautiful. Still to come are some herb combinations, as well as the classic tarragon vinegar.
One of the books I often consult about preserving our harvest is Stocking Up III, published by the Rodale Press. It claims that blanching herbs for a few seconds before freezing preserves taste and color better than freezing them raw. I haven't tried this yet, but with the many herbs in my garden, I just may. Get the water boiling, hold the herbs by their stems and swish around in the water for a few seconds, then blot them with towels and let them cool a bit before removing the stems and freezing. You can chop them or not, according to the book. I might just try some chives this way.
Have you tried compound butters? I like to use a whole stick of butter for this. Let the butter soften at room temperature. Finely mince about a quarter cup of herbs--a single herb, or any combination that appeals to you--and use a fork to mix the herbs into the butter. I like combinations: today I made a butter flavored with basil, oregano, thyme, and chives. This butter is great on cooked vegetables, and I also frequently serve it with freshly baked baguette slices. You can add lightly sauteed aromatics, such as garlic, scallions, shallots, etc., and also a splash of lemon juice, if you wish. I generally just stick to the herbs because I think it's more versatile that way, but go ahead and experiment.
And finally, pesto is a classic. I make a big batch and freeze it in two-tablespoon portions by using an ice cube tray. Once the cubes are frozen, you can release them from the tray and place them in a freezer bag. That way you can use a cube or two any time you want to boost the flavor of tomato sauce, minestrone, etc., or just thaw out enough to toss with pasta for a quick meal. I'm planning to try some with red wine vinegar as a cherry tomato-feta salad dressing.
Here's the recipe I use ( don't remember where on the web I found it), but you can vary the ingredients to suit your taste. I don't use pine nuts as they are so expensive, but walnuts work quite well as a substitute. Traditionally, a mortar and pestle was used to grind the ingredients; nowadays, the food processor is the equipment of choice. I haven't tried using a blender for this, so I don't know if that works efficiently or not. I double the recipe for freezing.
Several recipes I've seen say not to add the Parmesan if you're going to freeze this, but Parmesan actually freezes quite well, and I always add it regardless of whether it's headed for the freezer or not.
This will also keep in the refrigerator pretty well if you drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the top to "seal" it (helps prevent oxidation).
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 small to medium sized garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the basil and walnut bits by pulsing a few times in the food processor. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times.
Slowly add the olive oil in a stream while the processor is running. Stop to scrape down the sides with a spatula. You should have a nice paste. Add the grated cheese and pulse until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.