Freezing Herbs

Freezing Herbs
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Freezing HerbsFreezing Herbs for Winter Cooking
By Brenda Hyde

Freezing is an easy way to preserve and store fresh herbs during the cold days of winter. While frozen herbs don't hold up for salads or garnishes, they are delicious in dips and cooked dishes.

Herbs that freeze well include:

Rosemary
Bay
Savory
Sage
Parsley
Cilantro
Thyme
Lemon Balm
Mint
Basil
Chives
Tarragon
Dill Leaves
Lemon Grass
Oregano
Fennel leaves

The simplest method of freezing herbs is to cut sprigs of the fresh herb, rinse, pat dry and place the whole leaves with or without the stem into a plastic freezer bag. Squeeze out the air, seal, and place the bag in the freezer. Always label the bags with contents and the date it was frozen.

You can also make a paste of chopped herbs and oil to freeze in small containers. This works wonderfully when the herbs are needed for seasoning any type of meat or poultry. An alternative to using freezer containers, small amounts of the herb and oil mixture can be frozen in ice cube trays. When the cubes are frozen solid, remove from them from the tray and place in freezer bags.

Consider freezing some herbs together to use in dishes you know will be served frequently during the winter. The herb mixture can be frozen alone in bags or mixed with oil as instructed previously.  Below are several examples of herb combinations I have used in my cooking. I tend to measure by sight, but I tried to give approximate measurements.  

Herb Cheese Blend: Chop about two tablespoons fresh chives, parsley, oregano, basil and thyme.

To use: place the frozen herbs, 1-2 garlic cloves, two 8 ounce blocks of room temperature cream cheese, and 8 ounces butter in a food processor. You can also mince the herbs and garlic then mix it into the butter and cream cheese by hand.

 

Freezing Herbs


Poultry Blend: Chop 2 tablespoons each parsley, rosemary, thyme, and sage.  

To use: Blend the herbs with several cloves of minced garlic, olive oil (if not used in the freezing process), salt and ground black pepper. Spread on any type of poultry before roasting.

Beef Stew Blend: Equal amounts of chopped thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary and parsley are perfect for beef soups or stews.

To use: Drop in the stew near the end of cooking without thawing. Stir to blend into the stew.

Fish Blend: Chop 2 tbsp. or so of dill foliage, lemon thyme, lemon balm or any other lemon herb from the garden with a tbsp. of minced rosemary.  (The dill leaves are best harvested before the flowers blooms and seeds form.)

To use: Combine the herbs with olive oil or butter if it was not done before freezing. If desired add minced garlic, and spread over fish fillets. This works well with any fish that is baked, broiled or grilled.

Frozen sage leaves are far superior to using dried sage in stuffing and poultry recipes. The same goes for basil, chives and dill. The dried versions simply don’t do the taste justice. If space in the freezer is tight, I highly recommend freezing at least these four herbs to use in cooking.

There are other methods of preserving herbs but I’ve found freezing to be less time consuming with the best results as far as flavor. Freezing a mixture of whole sprigs, whole leaves, and the herb oil mixture is nice because of the variety. If possible, freeze several bags of the blends, and other bags or containers of the individual herbs. This will allow you to experiment with recipes along the way, but still have the blends for your favorite dishes.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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