forum: Gardening / Growing

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#1 Sat 31 Jan 09 6:33pm

runwestierun

Forum champ
Occupation Volunteer
From Oregon Coast USA
Member since Sat 22 Nov 08

Freezing Fresh Herbs

I grow alot of fresh herbs, and what I don't grow I will buy in bulk at a farmer's market when it's in season, or from a wholesale supplier.  What I don't use I freeze.

I of course prefer the taste of fresh herbs.  But in the winter, I don't care to spend as much money as it would take to always have them on hand.  So I settle (just a little) for frozen. 

Leafy herbs (basil sage parsley coriander) I prep and chop and freeze spread out thinly in a gallon zip top bag.  I freeze thyme on the stem.  I really like frozen thyme because I just open the bag and squeeze the contents a little and the frozen leaves drop off the stem.  Way easier than plucking.  Who hasn't plucked their fingers numb at Thanksgiving with fresh thyme?

There are several fresh herb pastes that I rub on meat before grilling that I make in the food processor, also pistou that I use quite alot on eggs.  I will make them in big batches and freeze them in ice cube trays and later transfer them to plastic bags.  Then I am usually good for a year. 

Because I am processing herbs in big batches, I end up with alot of flavorful stems.  Basil and parsley stems I grind up and freeze to add flavor to sauces.  Woodier stems I tie into bundles and soak in water.  Then I freeze them.  These I use to add to a charcoal fire to give the smoke an herbal flavor. 

Most websites suggest freezing fresh herbs in water in ice cube trays, but without exception I have found that they are better frozen without water.

Sage is a freaky weird one.  Even chopped, when you thaw it out the leaves look exactly like they do when they are fresh, all springy and fluffy.  Most of the others go limp when you thaw them, but the flavor is still good.  So this really only works if you are cooking something, frozen herbs won't work as a fresh garnish.

Between what I can harvest from my garden in the fall, and buying big batches in bulk once a year, this cuts my fresh herb bill to at least an tenth of what it might be.  It lets me still have lots of flavor variety without going off budget.

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#2 Sat 31 Jan 09 11:10pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

Funnily enough I was watching a cooking show the other day and Jekka ( friend of Jamie Oliver and herb grower ) was on the show.
http://www.jamieoliver.com/blogger/jekka
( jekkas blog page)
There was a question posed from a veiwer about freezing herbs , in particular corriander.
The general opinion was it was not a good idea to freeze fresh herbs.

However.... I always have a bag of chopped fresh parsley in my freezer... I do this by buying the parsley very fresh from the fruit and veg market ( where it is sold in an insulated  box that has ice in the base ), I make sure that it is clean and dry and then I chop it in a food processor ,double  bag it quickly and then pop it strait into the freezer.
This is very successful and it retains a good flavor and a reasonable texture.

The only way that I will freeze Basil is in pesto that I make fresh. When I do this the pesto is in the freezer in less than half an hour after picking the basil leaves.
I think that the oil in the pesto helps to preserve the Basil.
I have not been sucessful in freezing it any other way.

In the past I have frozen fresh chopped herbs in icecubes , with a little water in each cube section. I have found that this will only  work for some herbs .

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#3 Sun 01 Feb 09 2:25am

runwestierun

Forum champ
Occupation Volunteer
From Oregon Coast USA
Member since Sat 22 Nov 08

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

Yes, I understand that it is not as good as fresh, but given how much flavor they do retain and how much money I save, it sure works for me.  Thanks for the blog link.  I have learned so much from the blogs I've found from people on this site.  Thank you very much! smile

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#4 Sun 01 Feb 09 2:48am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

Have you tried growing your own herbs? Then you can just pick what you need, though it can be handy to freeze some if you want it when the season isn't right.

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#5 Sun 01 Feb 09 2:49am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

Rosemary freezes well as do bay leaves, provided they are only in there for flavour not looks.

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#6 Sun 01 Feb 09 2:04pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

I never thought of freezing Rosemary of bay leaves as where I live they just grow happily outdoors all year round.

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#7 Sun 01 Feb 09 2:56pm

lulubob

Member
Occupation Making it up as I go along...
From Canada
Member since Sun 18 Jan 09

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

mummza wrote:

I never thought of freezing Rosemary of bay leaves as where I live they just grow happily outdoors all year round.

Someday I must live in a place where bay and rosemary just grow happily outdoors all year round!  That green you see is not herbal, its my geography envy showing...

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#8 Sun 01 Feb 09 3:02pm

madamada

Forum super champ
Occupation living life
From Friuli northern Italy
Member since Mon 14 Jan 08

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

your envy for rosemary has the same weight of mine for your manitoba flour, nowadays it seems to be the best for all recipes everywhere lol

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#9 Sun 01 Feb 09 3:05pm

lulubob

Member
Occupation Making it up as I go along...
From Canada
Member since Sun 18 Jan 09

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

madamada wrote:

your envy for rosemary has the same weight of mine for your manitoba flour, nowadays it seems to be the best for all recipes everywhere lol

What a lovely complement - I will pass that along to me hardworking brothers who still grow that wheat on the family farm. big_smile

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#10 Sun 01 Feb 09 3:08pm

madamada

Forum super champ
Occupation living life
From Friuli northern Italy
Member since Mon 14 Jan 08

Re: Freezing Fresh Herbs

ooooooooooooohhh really lulubob, you have a family farm, there is no scale to weigh my admiration now, is it a big farm, and what do they grow? send pics please thumbsup  clap

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