Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Garden Party - An Alternative to Drying Herbs

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.
Method 1:

  • 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.

    Method 2:
  • 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. Make sure the leaves are down into the water, 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.
  • 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.


    Have you ever frozen your herbs?

    Next week I'll tell you The Mr's secret to a beautiful garden. In the meantime, check out An Oregon Cottage for her weekly Garden Party.


    What's in YOUR garden this week?




    Zentmrs
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    13 comments:

    1. This is good information. I usually will freeze basil leaves, and put them in a plastic bag to use in sauces over the winter, and it tastes so good when it is cold and not much is growing outside!

      Athena at Minerva's Garden
      http://www.minervasgarden.com

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    2. Fun tips! I enjoy the herbs during the season but have never done anything for after season!

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    3. I love to can and freeze things, so I am very intrigued about freezing herbs. I currently don't grow any, but when I read things like this it makes me want to. Thanks for posting and don't be surprised if this time next year I'm coming to you with questions about this. :)

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    4. Thanks for the great tips. I'll be freezing some herbs for the first time and this was very helpful.

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    5. Excellent tips. Love the idea of preserving this way. Thanks

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    6. I use a method similar to #1 - for hardy herbs like basil and parsley, I just give them a rinse and vacuum seal the whole bunch. Works remarkably well. Will try your other tips for less hardy ones though! Thanks for sharing.

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    7. Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for the great tips. I often blanch & freeze vegetables for winter but don't think about herbs.

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    8. Great blog and very informative. Thanks for visiting today and leaving a comment. It was nice to share!

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    9. It is almost herb drying time at my house. Thanks for sharing all of this info.

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    10. I so want to do this! Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement:)

      I am so glad you stopped by myeverydaygraces earlier... I have never had a problem with critters getting into the salmon. I bury them about 6 inches under.

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    11. Thanks, I'm going to try this soon. Way to leave us hanging for next week. :-)

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    12. I used to buy the frozen herbs at trader joes... they were frozen in to tiny little blocks and so easy to pop and melt in to a recipe... but I never thought to make them myself! Thanks for sharing!

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