Around this time of year the question I am usually asked by people I meet in the stores or from people who send me e mails is: What do I do with the vegetables and herbs that are coming out of my garden so profuselyAn easy way to retain fresh herbs, such as sweet basil, peppermint, and oregano, is to wash and thoroughly air-dry each separate batch of herbs, then mix one cup of the herb you are preserving with one cup of olive oil, and puree with one quarter teaspoon of salt. Put them in a sterilized jar and refrigerate overnight, or for about six hours. This allows the herbs to settle to the bottom with the olive oil rising to the top. Stirring the next day homogenizes the mixture and it will not separate again. Leave the jar in the refrigerator to use during the winter when there are no longer any fresh herbs. For example, if you are making tomato sauce for pasta, use one tablespoon of the preserved basil and oil mixture and add it to the sauce. You will find that the flavor is extremely intense, as though you have added fresh basil. The same is true for all of the herbs you preserve this way.Another way is to wash and air-dry a mixture of basil, sage, oregano and thyme, then mixing the herbs together and wrapping about a quarter cup of this mixture in a five inch square of cheesecloth. It should be tied tightly, placed in a plastic freezer bag and frozen for use in soup during the winter months. Dropping the cheesecloth into the soup gives it all the flavor you want, and before serving, you simply throw away the cheesecloth and the herbs, which have provided all the flavor they intend to by the time you discard the mixture.For Basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Wash them, and allow them to air dry, importantly, in the shade so the sun won’t change their color. Once dried, you can put them in class jar and store until you need them. As well, you can make cream or paste by putting the herbs -after being washed and air dry for one day- in a food processor with olive oil. Use about one cup of olive oil for two cups of the chopped herb with dash of salt and teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Puree the mixture and put one table spoon onto three inch square foil, fold to seal, and place each bundle on cookie sheet. Freeze for couple days, and then place the frozen bundles into a freezer bag and keep in your freezer. Be certain to label each bag of the herb so when you are ready to make pesto you will use couple of the frozen basil bundles or when you want to make roasted potatoes, you will use the frozen rosemary and so on.As for mint, pick the leaves, wash and air dry for a day. Now, you can puree the mint with olive oil and use that paste in salads, soups and with cream cheese spread. My favorite is to puree the fresh mint with lemon zest and sugar into mint sweet paste. Spoon into sterilized jar and refrigerate overnight, mix to homogenize and then return to the refrigerator.Whenever you make lemonade spoon one tablespoon of the mint sweet paste at the bottom of the cup, pour the lemonade over, stir and enjoy.