Oh why, oh why is the gardening season so short? It seems just as if everything reaches it’s prime, then it is gone until the next season. I know I’ve talked about my garden a lot lately but…tis the season:) I’ve focused a lot on the vegetables recently, but the herbs are also a large portion of our summer gardening. We grew basil [sweet and purple], Italian flat leaf parsley, oregano, sage, mint, rosemary and thyme. Even if I cook with these fresh herbs every day, there is still more than I can use. The solution for me is to freeze them. This is the 5th or so year I’ve been doing it, at the results are perfect for cooking. I simply freeze chopped herbs in ice cube trays. Some I freeze in olive oil [for sauteing and dishes more in the “Italian family” of recipes] and some I freeze some in water or broth [for adding to soups and stews]. When stored in the freezer until I’m ready to use them helps stretch the season until we’re growing fresh herbs again. The flavor is still nice and sharp, even after months in the freezer. Once the ice cubes are sufficiently hard, I store them in freezer bags. I use two different size ice cube trays. The traditional, 14 compartment tray and smaller, 24 compartment ones. The traditional size holds about 1 Tablespoon of herbs, the smaller about 1 teaspoon. Perfect measurements for cooking. If you’ve never tried this method before, go for it, you won’t be disappointed.
Simple Instructions for Summer Freshness in Winter:
Pile up washed and patted dry herbs on a cutting board. I prefer to freeze herbs individually, but feel free to make your own blends.
Using a large knife, start chopping! There is no wrong or right size, chop to the size you prefer.
When you have a sufficient amount chopped, start filling the ice cube trays.
Now it’s decision time, oil or water. It depends on how you’ll be using them in later months. I do about 1/2 and 1/2.
Place in freezer. Once solid, remove from trays and store in freezer bags.