Friday, May 23, 2014

Preserving Your Fresh Herbs and Seasonings

Aren't you frustrated of opening the fridge and looking at a sad, droopy bunch of chive or chadon beni or some other herb or seasoning, that you bought at the market but didn't get the time to use all of it just yet but it's already wilting and rotting??

Well if spoiling herbs or seasonings is a problem in your kitchen there’s a solution for it... And it’s a simple one.

I wish these things were available to purchase in smaller quantities like one or two at a time, because I hate letting things go to waste.  Most times recipes only call for a very small amount... So what to do with the rest of the package? Instead of letting them sit in the fridge and rot; here are two ways to save them and save money!

Method 1:  Freezing them as Ice Cubes;

Wash, pat dry and remove stems at your preference. Chop and press into ice cube trays and carefully drizzle a little water over to fill, so a cube will form when frozen. You can also process the herbs with a little water as the base and then make cubes. When ready, pop cubes out into freezer bags or freezer safe containers.

Method 2:  As pesto (using oil as the base)

Why use oil instead of water?
Because preserving herbs in oil reduces some of the browning and freezer burn that these can get in the freezing process.
It's also a great way to have portion sized fresh herbs/seasoning on hand for your stews, roasts, soups, or any other dishes that need oil; then you can take a cube, out of the freezer and use this as the base of your dish. Cook the onions and garlic in this herb-infused oil and let the taste of herbs spread through your whole dish.

Wash, pat dry and chop...
Pack the wells of ice cube trays about 2/3 full and pour extra-virgin olive oil over the herbs.
Or you can use your food processor and puree the herbs in an olive oil base...
Cover lightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
Remove the frozen cubes and store in freezer containers or small bags.
Don't forget to label each container or bag with the type of herb (and oil) inside!

You can use the above two methods for most soft green herbs such as chives, parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro, arugula, sage, chadon beni etc...

For hard herbs which are things like rosemary, thyme, savory, and sage which are suitable for longer cooking times, take the branches, wash them in cold water and blot dry with paper towels.
Spread out in a shallow container and put into the freezer. Once frozen, put them into freezer bags and make sure there is little or no air left in the bag. After about a week or more in the freezer, you can take the bag out and roll a rolling pin over the bag.
Most of the leaves will come loose from the stem, but if some don't you can easily remove those by hand.
Then pack the frozen leaves quickly back into freezer jars or bags.
PS: if a recipe calls for a "dried" hard herb, just double the amount if you're using frozen herbs...

NOTE: These are all herbs that would be cooked when added to a dish.

Three cheers for no more wasted herbs!!! xoxo

No comments:

Post a Comment

I am interested in hearing from you...please comment :)