Freeze It - Preserve Your Herbs for Easy Cooking
Purchase or Grow your own Herbs
Whether you grow your own or purchase from your favorite farm or grocery store, you can make a plan to preserve your herbs for on the spot use. Shopping for fresh ingredients to prepare your festive meals are usually a last minute project. By using the herbs in your garden or purchasing some of your favorite herbs ahead of time and freezing them, you can save yourself some of the stress of cooking.
Buying herbs and spices in a jar at the supermarket is okay, but sometimes you would just like to have fresh ingredients at your fingertips. I have a quick and easy way to preserve some popular herbs so you can have them available for your favorite recipes.
Also, have you ever decided last minute that you would like to make a certain recipe and realized that you didn't have your favorite fresh ingredient or herb in the fridge? I have, so I have discovered a way to have some of these popular flavorings for favorite recipes right in the freezer.
When I am cooking my meals, sometimes I just don’t want to use what comes out of the jar or a dry herb, so I found that if I buy my spices, herbs or vegetables ahead of time and get them ready and freeze them, they are always at hand when needed for any meal.
I will use the example of some herbs. The way to keep them fresh and ready to use is a simple and fast process. I usually prepare these items for storage about every six months, depending how quickly I use them. Whether you are growing them in your own garden or buying them at your favorite farmers market or grocery store, this process of preserving them is a practical and smart idea.
Some of the flavors I use are basil, scallions, mint leaves and parsley. These are some of my favorite additions that I myself use often and I believe are some of the more popular herbs for recipes. It is nice to have that fresh taste even though these herbs didn’t come right from the garden the same day. They are just or almost as fresh, and the taste and smell can be as satisfying as when picked.
The process is simple, quick and easy. All you will need is your fresh spice, plastic zip lock sandwich bags and labels. First, just wash your items thoroughly. Next, lay them in a plate lined with a paper towel, and pat them dry with another paper towel, to remove any excess water. The rest of the steps can vary depending on which herb it is.
For the four that I have chosen the next steps are as follows.
- Basil is a leafy green herb with a very strong taste and aroma. For this item I like to remove the stems before freezing. Next, just place the basil leaves in the bags, seal and freeze. Now, whenever you need a whole leaf or just a pinch of basil, it is ready to go.
- Parsley is also an herb. It has cluster like leaves. I like to cut off the stem before placing in bags, so you have these little florets of parsley ready to pull out when cooking your item. As with the basil you can also crush the parsley before it defrosts, which is very quickly, and use the crumbled pieces.
- Mint is a leafy, tasty and very aromatic herb. It is a great idea for extra minty flavor to add to any cool drink or warm beverage. You will want to remove the larger leaves from the stems, but you can leave the smaller ones in little bunches. This way when you take them out of the freezer, a whole leaf is ready for your beverage, and if you like you can use the smaller bunch of leaves as well.
- Scallions also called leeks are in the onion family. You will also wash this item thoroughly, but cut them into tiny pieces before bagging and freezing. This way you have little pieces ready to be tossed into salads, add to bread crumb mixes, or any other way you may want to use this versatile onion flavor.
Some other familiar herbs are chamomile, cilantro, thyme and sage. Now you can have any or all of these herbs with that fresh flavor right in your freezer. Use this quick and easy process and keep your favorite flavors ready to use anytime you prepare a meal.