Autumn is the season for colored leaves, warm clothes, and hearty comfort foods. And while those things may bring a sense of rest and relaxation, autumn can be a busy time of year. There are sporting events to attend, holiday preparations to make, shorter days to fit everything into, and for many gardeners, food preservation to keep up with in an effort to stock up before the cold winter months ahead.
One way to preserve the herbal bounty of the summer herb garden before the first frost comes is to gather the remaining bits of fresh herbs and make DIY herbal soup rings to use in a variety of foods throughout the fall and winter.
Herbal Soup Rings
Herbal soup rings are just what they sound like. Rings of herbs. They consist of one or more herb varieties that are braided together, formed into a ring or circle, and tied off. These rings can be used fresh, or they can be placed in the freezer or hung to dry for later use. They can be made up of a single herb, such as a thyme ring or a sage ring, or they can be made from a combination of several herbs — my favorite being rosemary, thyme, and sage.
Herbal soup rings can be used when making bone broth, cooking rice or other grains, or when making soups and stews. All you have to do is toss your herbal soup ring into the pot with the rest of your ingredients and cook away! The herbs used in your herbal soup ring will infuse into the water lending their water-soluble properties as well as flavor to your final product.
Here are some recipes you can use as inspiration with your herbal soup ring this season:
How To Make Herbal Soup Rings
Herbal soup rings can be made in four simple steps.
Step 1: Choose Your Herbs
Head out to your herb garden and cut 6-12 inch pieces of thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, or any other herbs of your choosing. You’ll want to select from flexible stems to make braiding easier. Remove any old or damaged leaves, and wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any dirt. You can rinse them in water, but it’s a good idea to dry them well afterward, especially if you’re planning on hanging them to dry. Any extra water in the braid will prolong drying time and can lead to mold.
Step 2: Braiding
Chose three strands of herbs to braid together. This can be three of the same herb or three different herbs. Hold the ends of the herbs tight in your hand or tie them with some bakers twine to secure the base. Begin braiding the strands together until you reach the tip.
Step 3: Making Rings
Loop your braid in a circle and tie the tip and base of the braid together, creating a ring. You can use another herb to tie then ends together, or you can use baker’s twine.
Step 4: Using & Preserving Herbal Soup Rings
Once your herbal soup rings are finished, you can use them fresh or place them in the freezer for later use. You can also hang them to dry somewhere with good air circulation. Just be sure to check them daily to ensure they’re drying well and not holding moisture as this will lead to mold growth. If you think your herbal soup ring isn’t drying evenly, you may need to loosen the braid slightly in one or two places to let the air better circulate.
Other Ways To Use Herbal Soup Rings
Herbal soup rings also make great holiday gifts, especially if you are gifting mason jar soup mixes. Simply put your soup mix in your jar, use a festive piece of fabric between the lid and ring, then attach a dried herbal soup ring and tag using some extra twine.
Speaking of the holidays, you can also use herbal soup rings to decorate your gifts and packages. This looks particularly nice if you’re going for a simple, rustic look to your packages. Just wrap your package in some kraft paper or fabric and pin or tape an herbal soup ring to the front along with a tag. Don’t forget to tell the gift recipient how to use it! You wouldn’t want them to accidentally throw it away!
And there you have it! Herbal soup rings that help you reduce waste in the herb garden, improve the taste of your food, support your wellness, and add a little extra something to this year’s holiday gifts! Enjoy!