Kitchen Basics: Freezing Fresh Herbs!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Have you ever bought a bunch of parsley or dill, needing it for a tiny component of a dish, and end up sticking the bunch in the back of your fridge only to find it a week or two later old, yellow, and possibly oozing some peculiar yellow substance? Do you get pissed at spending the $2 for a bunch of scallions or parsley, and you can't get through the bunch fast enough so you end up throwing most of it away later? No more! 

Now that we're in the full force of autumn with winter on its heels before we know it, most of us have to say good bye to fresh herbs growing in our garden. And prices tend to hike up at the local markets for fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, even chives. Have no fear! A trick I use that's stupidly easy can make those expensive herbs and garden growers last for the rest of the year and well into next spring! All you need is a glass jar or well sealed plastic tupperware and a freezer. Yes, it's that stupidly easy. 

Freezing fresh herbs keeps them quite fresh. Perfect? No -- it's never better than fresh herbs just picked from the garden. But we'll take what we can get. Growing up my grandma would take tons of parsley growing in the yard and finely chop it, place it in a glass jar (like a mason jar) and keep it in the freezer. Any time she needed parsley for a dish or a finisher she just took it right out. Cilantro and dill also freeze quite well. 

I take the parsley and usually give it a rough chop right off the stem, then freeze it. If I need some finer chopped I'll take a portion out from the freezer that I need and go ahead and chop. My grandma used to have parsley (which we used quite often) both in whole leaf form and very finely chopped formed frozen separately.

Dill is pretty straightforward; I give it a rough chop as well and then freeze.

Cilantro I keep whole leaf as much as possible. Lovage also freezes exceptionally well. I don't bother freezing fresh thyme, lavender, or oregano because their dried form work perfectly in dishes as much as their fresh versions do. Chives and scallions can also freeze well -- I give each a fine chop and add right to the freezer! Basil doesn't seem to freeze very well -- it gets brown and unappetizing. This one you're just gonna have to buy fresh at the store.

Hope this little kitchen tip helps extend the life of some of your herbs! And eases up your pockets! Happy cooking!

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