This is just a quick post about how to preserve herbs by freezing them.
In this case, I am preserving fresh cilantro. Why? Because cilantro is a cool-weather crop. By the time my tomatoes ripen in the summer, the cilantro will have bolted and/or died off in the heat. If I want to make salsa later, I need to preserve the cilantro now!
This is easy to do:
1. Harvest, rinse and drain the herbs thoroughly.
|Fresh, over-wintered cilantro from the garden.|
2. Roll out a long strip of paper towel.
3. Lay the herbs flat in line with the short end of the paper towel.
4. When you have filled a width of 1-3 inches (2-6cm) of space at the end of the towel with herbs, roll the herbs in the paper towel until they are covered.
5. Then, lay down another line of herbs and roll these in the paper towel again. Continue until you have rolled all the herbs in the paper towel.
6. Wrap the rolled paper towel in plastic wrap.
7. Wrap the herb/paper towel/plastic roll in aluminum foil.
8. Label and date the aluminum foil wrap and place in your freezer.
This should last 6months to a year.
"But what about blanching!?" you may ask. Personally, I don't bother. The herbs seem to stay fairly green despite being frozen. Also, I generally use the herbs as a component of a recipe. I don't recommend using frozen herbs as a garnish. They will be wilted and won't look good.
- If you want shredded/crushed herbs to use in your recipe: Remove the herbs from the wrap while they are still frozen and then crush them in your hand. The herbs should shatter fairly easily.
- If you want the herbs to appear whole in your recipe: Allow the roll to thaw before you remove the herbs. They should maintain their shape and color fairly well. However, they will not be as crisp as fresh, unfrozen herbs.
I hope this helps someone out there! Happy gardening, cooking and preserving!