RECIPE: What to do with all those Herbs

Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9bNovember 13, 2008

Our public library has a chef's series, and I went to it yesterday. I have always wondered how to keep my bountiful basil, rosemary, chives, parsley, thyme, etc fresh without having to dry them. I grow many herbs, BUT I also buy them and use whatever for a recipe, and end up throwing out the leftovers. NEVER AGAIN!!

The chef said you can mix them all or do them one by one, but carefully separate the leaves from the stems (no stems)and for basil do a chiffonade, but the rest you can chop. Once you get them all chopped, put them in any amounts per herb you desire into a plastic see through container (like the ones deli parmesan cheese comes in), cover them with safflower oil. It must be safflower oil because it stays oily in the freezer and does not congeal like olive, coconut oil etc.

Put enough oil to just cover the herbs, and they will last weeks in the fridge, and a very long time in the freezer. He says a little gray may develop on top (it's not mold), but just spoon that off, and you will be good to go!! Fresh herbs for any recipe all the time!! This method allows us to harvest our herbs and get the most out of them before they go to seed, etc.

The chef said that if you are mixing your herbs, don't put dill or tarragon in the mix. They are too strong and will influence the flavor of the whole mix. He suggested to do them separately.

I asked him if you could also use a zip lock. He poo poo'd that idea thinking that the zipper might not zip, but I know better! I'll probably use my favorite zip lock bags for this!

I hope this helps you stretch your herb harvest. It will certainly speed up cooking time. No more chopping! All done ahead, fresh and yummy!!

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Probably the same principal as freezing pesto.
I have frozen oregano in oil....and frankly a good quality dried has a lot more flavor....don't know where it goes...but, in the winter, if I don't have some in a pot, I don't use fresh herbs but for parsley and cilantro. Perhaps an occasional splurge on basil, but I am about to enter the 5 months of absence of fresh herbs!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 10:58AM
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Many fresh herbs can be chopped and put into ice cube trays, totally covered with water, and then let them freeze. After that, put them into a zip lock bag in the freezer and pull them out whenever you need one. I would mark on the bag which herb is in the cube, and I would not mix the herbs because I like to be able to use individual herbs and not herb blends. Another way to preserve fresh herbs, is to just go ahead and chop them and put them into a freezer bag. It works for me.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 4:11PM
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I'm sorry to disagree with the chef, but storing herbs in oils can cause botulism poisoning. If you are going to store them in oil, make sure you refrigerate for a very short time or freeze.

You might want to check out a post about Flavored oils and vinegars.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 11:54AM
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