Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kitchen Klatter - Freezing Herbs

You can buy fresh herbs all year round but they are expensive off season.  A great hint that has been floating around the net these days is freezing herbs. Herbs actually lend well to freezing.   The exception is oregano, which works better dried since it tends to have an overwhelming taste.

Many gardeners dry herbs from their herb garden, so that they'll be able to enjoy their fresh herbs for a few months longer. Drying herbs is an easy, efficient means to preserve fresh herbs, but herbs with a high water content seem to mold before they ever dry. To preserve herbs with a high water content, like basil, chives lemon balm, mint and tarragon, fresh freezing is a better option. The herbs will become limp in the process, but their flavor will be intact.

Frozen herbs will keep their flavor for several months. Unlike dried herbs, where the flavor gets more concentrated when drying, frozen herbs can be used in the same proportion as fresh herbs.

Two Methods To Freeze Herbs:

freezing herbsMethod One: Harvest the freshest, healthiest leaves. Wash, if necessary, and pat dry with paper towels.  Spread the individual leaves on a small tray or cookie sheet. Freezing the leaves flat and individually will prevent them from freezing together into a brick.  Cover and place the tray of leaves into the freezer.  When frozen solid, place in airtight containers and return to the freezer. Once frozen individually, the leaves will not meld together.

freezing herbsMethod Two: Harvest the freshest, healthiest leaves.  Wash, if necessary, and pat dry with paper towels.  Stuff 2-3 individual leaves or a spoonful of chopped herbs in ice cube trays.  Fill the tray half way with water or Olive Oil. Make sure the leaves are down into the liquid, as best you can. They will tend to float, but we'll fix that with the next step. Place the half filled tray in the freezer.  Once the ice cubes are pretty much frozen, finish filling the try with water or oil. The leaves will no longer be able to float and should be completely surrounded with water. Now place the tray back into the freezer to freeze solid.  Once the ice cubes are frozen, remove from the tray and store in zip closure bags.  When ready to use, toss the whole ice cube into your favorite stew or dish.

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