Stalwart rosemary, buttoned-up thyme, flirty sage, cheerful oregano: I can’t pull off Thanksgiving without them. Frustratingly, I know that they will go into hibernation mode, turning dark and shriveled for the winter, about a month before the holiday feast. It is their time to truly shine, and I’m going to be stuck buying them from the grocery store instead of using them fresh out of the garden? A tragedy. And that’s why I’m making herby compound butter now, and freezing it until November. I’m making two batches with oregano, thyme and rosemary, and another with just sage. Later, I’ll slice them to stuff under the skin of our turkey, to brown and simmer with winter squash and to blend into mashed potatoes.
Making compound butter is an easy way to preserve fresh garden herbs. Try making butter with a single herb or a mix of several. I like to use combinations of sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed fresh herb leaves
- Blend the butter with the herbs until completely mixed.
- Press the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap into a long, narrow log. It doesn't need to look pretty; it will get smoothed out later!
- Fold the short ends of the plastic wrap in, then tightly roll up the butter in the plastic wrap lengthwise, just like the way you roll a burrito. Roll the wrapped butter back and forth on the counter to create a smooth, round log.
- Wrap the butter log in a piece of aluminum foil. Label and freeze.
Make Ahead and Storage
To freeze compound butter, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil. Butter picks up odors easily, so the foil will protect it from developing off-flavors from the other foods in your freezer. The butter should be used within 2-3 months.