Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Freezing Herbs

A few weeks ago I tried something I've never really done before. I've actually tied up dill into bundles and hung it from my ceiling before, but if you can believe it, this is the first time I've tried freezing herbs.

In my defence, I only discovered the joy of using fresh herbs a few years back when I decided to try growing a basil plant. I can't stand little dried herb bits in my food, getting stuck in my teeth, so I'd only cook with ground herbs. Fresh has so much more flavour! And it's a better flavour too. Alas, it was short lived, as I soon moved to a basement apartment where I couldn't grow anything.

Years passed and I'm in a house now. I tried a balcony herb garden last year and it bombed because I didn't remove the mint early enough (when I did remove it to pot it separately, it had already sent roots beneath all the other plants and so ripped them out with it).

This year I didn't try mint. I did try basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, dill, chives (didn't work well on the balcony), sage and green onions. I loved grabbing basil, sage, dill and green onions for salads. I also started throwing in oregano. I'm not as good with using the thyme and rosemary (thicker herbs seem much like the dried bits I disliked before).

Anyway, I decided I didn't want my herb usage to vanish simply because fall was coming, so I decided to freeze some for the winter.

I washed the herbs (mostly to remove the dish detergent I've been using as a pesticide) and let them dry. I then laid them on a baking tray and tried flash freezing them so they wouldn't stick together once frozen. This gave mixed results. The rosemary, sage and thyme turned out ok, but the basil was pretty useless. I stuffed them all into labeled baggies anyway because when winter comes I probably won't mind the texture (and from frozen I won't expect it to look like it was fresh) and the taste in dishes will be worth it.

I've also heard that cutting up the herbs and freezing them in ice cube trays with water works well.

Have you tried freezing herbs? If so, how did you go about it and how did they work when you used them?

No comments: