Thursday, June 27, 2013

Waste Not...Freezing Fresh Herbs

After living on the farm for awhile, I've come to realize that I'm not exactly Ms. Green Thumb. I'm also not a black thumb. My thumb is probably more of a chamo brown. 

I have been successful growing herbs, however, and it is nice that I don't have to worry about buying mint or rosemary or basil. When my cilantro bolted (produced flowers, which takes away resources from the leaves, which means that the herbs aren't so nice anymore) I didn't know what to do with all of the extra cilantro, so it went to waste.

When my dill plant bolted, I was ready. I remembered that I had seen an article once on freezing herbs in blocks of ice, and so I did some research and figured out how to preserve herbs. You don't have to be a horticulturist to use this technique - think of all those herbs that come in giant bunches from the grocery store. I was always buying them and then finding it  hard to use the bunch before the herbs turned into a slimy mess. If you follow this method, you can preserve them, saving money, trips to the store, and resources.

Step One: Wash and dry the herbs. This is the dill from my garden. Notice it was a little yellow in places because I harvested it after it bolted, but I just cut those parts out in Step 2.

Step 2: When the herbs are completely dry, chop them to the size you usually use in cooking.

Step 3: Measure the herbs, putting the same amount in each pocket of an ice cube tray, and fill with water. I put a teaspoon in each square. That way, I'll know exactly how much to thaw when I need it. You want to be sure that you put the faucet on just a little when you fill with water. Otherwise the herbs could be splashed from the tray.

Step 4: Freeze, making sure the tray is flat in the freezer.

Step 5: When they are frozen, put them in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the air. Label with the name of the herb and the amount in each cube.

When you're ready to use, just put the appropriate number of cubes in a small bowl to thaw, then squeeze out the water and dry.


Tori said...

The other thing I do with any produce that is about to turn is freeze it in my "stock bag." I also put peelings etc. (I don't have a compost pile). Then, when I have enough, I boil it and make homemade veggie stock. Herb stems are great for this, as are squash peelings, celery leaves, you name it! I also use left over bones and trimmings from meat when I have them. Then, I freeze the stock to always have it on hand.

Catfish said...

Tori, that is a great idea too. I've never made homemade stock but I will have to try it out.