Saturday, September 25, 2010

Preserving Herbs

I really hate to see all the garden herbs go to waste when cold weather arrives.   I was able to winter over sage and rosemary last year with some straw and row cover, but there was nothing to harvest for the coldest part of our New England Winter.   If I wanted fresh herb flavor it was coming from the plastic containers in the produce isle.

Many sources recommend freezing herbs as an alternative to drying for preservation, and some are actually preferable this way due to their hight water content (like sage for example).  This will be my first year preserving them in this manner though I have purchased and cooked with frozen herbs in the past with good results.   So far it is going very simply, I have put up chives, rosemary, and sage to date.

Sage leaves were frozen whole, the chives and rosemary were snipped and chopped before being frozen. It is best to lay them out in a single layer before popping them in for the freeze treatment to prevent a clump of solid 'whatever' being the final outcome.

I have some small freezer containers (Tupperware used to make some special for this purpose, and they probably still do) that will barely take up any space for long-term storage.  The sage leaves I prefer to keep whole for things like seasoning the cavity of a roasting squash or chicken, so I left them this way as they can always be chopped up prior to being added to a dish.  They are being housed in a canning jar once frozen since they require a bit more space.

I dried some basil in the oven earlier in the season, and the dill and cilantro are sadly long gone.  I need to continue to add to my current stash and should also think about adding oregano and mint to the list.  I think this freezing thing will be a big hit this winter when we have fragrant sage for roasts, and zesty chives for topping potatoes, eggs, and nachos within quick reach in the freezer.  Anyone else out there freezing herbs for later use?



Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Kelly,
I enjoyed your post. I made one batch of pistou this summer. It's a French version of pesto. It does not have pine nuts in it, and is basically just basil, garlic, and olive oil. You're supposed to crush it by hand, but I used my Vitamix blender I won from a radio station a few years ago. That is in the freezer.

I have some dried dill that I keep using from where it's hanging, but forgetting to put in a container.

I haven't frozen any other herbs, but after reading your post, I want to try. Oh, I just remembered I have frozen cut up chives in the past, but don't remember if I remembered to use them.

Kelly said...

Lol, the not remembering if you remembered sounds all too familiar. I grow pistou basil, it is a favorite on salads in our house, though I have never made the pesto for the traditional french soup as you have. I should!

Erin said...

I had to laugh yesterday when I checked on my broccoli and noticed self seeded dill and cilantro popping up everywhere, of course the cilantro grows NOW when the tomatoes are done!

Those are some beautiful photos of the herbs, I need to do more next year.

Annie's Granny said...

I don't grow a lot of herbs, but I do dry all of my parsley in the microwave, and hang the rosemary sprigs to air dry. I've just fallen in love with frozen basil, and have a nice stash of pureed basil cubes in my freezer for winter meals.

Mr. H. said...

We freeze a lot of basil and cilantro but I have never given any thought to freezing sage and rosemary...what a great idea. I am going to try this with our rosemay for sure because it always seems to lose a lot of flavor once it has been dried.

Thomas said...

I was planning on drying my sage and rosemary but this is so much better! I'm definitely freezing them now.

Lorie said...

I can smell those beautiful looking herbs from here.