Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Freezing Herbs

I recently had several people ask about freezing various ingredients. In many of recipes, it may call for a small amount of one ingredient that you don't use frequently. So a common frustration is often along the lines of "Great, I have a whole bunch of cilantro, parsley, thyme, cheese, etc.... Now what do I do with it?!" Like any tool or skill, if you don't know what to do with them, it's frustrating and can get discouraging. Ingredients and cooking are no different.

Herbs differ from spices in many ways, but the key distinction is the part of the plant that is used. Herbs are generally the leafy portion of the plant, as opposed to the root, bark, seed or fruit, which is known as a spice.

Got it? Herb = leaf. Spice = root, bark, seed, fruit, etc. 

Herbs can be amazing when home grown or bought fresh. You can also buy them freeze dried or frozen. I will typically buy fresh herbs, then store them to my preference. This answers the questions many cooks have about what to do with left over herbs.

How to freeze herbs: 

Prep the herbs like you would for cooking (mince, dice, remove from stem, etc).

Freeze loose in a ziplock bag, or in portions with olive oil in an ice cube tray. 

For example, I bought too much dill, so I measured out 1 teaspoon into each cube, and added about 1 teaspoon olive oil. When frozen, I pop out and toss everything into a ziplock bag. 

This can be done for almost any herb. If you don't want to use olive oil, just freeze them loose. 

Best Frozen Loose: Cilantro, Mint, Chives, Basil.

Either Method: Tarragon, Oregano, Dill, Parsley, Rosemary,  Thyme.

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