Author Topic: Freezing fresh herbs?  (Read 3384 times)

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Offline Kidder

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Freezing fresh herbs?
« on: October 10, 2006, 04:06:15 PM »
Have any of you had success doing this for herbs such as basil? Do you just wash them, pat dry with paper towel, place in a zip-top bag, squeeze the air out and seal? Do you lose a certain amount of quality/essence/aroma/freshness when doing so?

Every time I've bought fresh basil or oregano mold sets in after about a week. Fresh basil is just way too expensive to throw away after a week. If I made pizza every night of the week I wouldn't have any problem....believe me, I could eat it 7 times a week too.


Offline Finnegans Wake

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2006, 04:42:46 PM »
I've never tried freezing fresh herbs, but basil is notoriously fragile.  I'd suspect you'd pull out a browned and shriveled mess.  The oregano may be slightly heartier, but for all the effort it may not taste any better than dried once defrosted.

I personally don't have a good place to grow herbs indoors, but if you do you might consider it.  My oregano sometimes winters over, sometimes not; basil won't.  While I can empathize with the cost of fresh herbs, my bet is that freezing will just compromise the quality way too much. 
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Offline November

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2006, 06:46:55 PM »
You should be able to freeze dry herbs much like the professionals using a little ingenuity.  Freeze drying is guaranteed to keep the flavor of your herbs intact while still preserving them.  You only need two things: a vacuum (pump) food sealer and a freezer.  Although I haven't tested their claims, "Pump 'n' Seal" sealers claim to have a strong enough vacuum to reach 0.06 atm, which is needed for freeze drying.  Just place your herbs in a zip closure bag or freezer safe jar and place it in the coldest region of your freezer, usually right near the blower.  After about an hour or when you know for sure the herbs are frozen, take the bag out and follow the instructions that come with the vacuum sealer.  Leave out at room temperature and re-vacuum every 10-15 minutes to remove the moisture as it evaporates from the herbs.

http://pumpnsealfoodsaver.com/foodsavers.htm

Disclaimer: Although I'm aware of this working with a professional vacuum pump, I again make no warranty as to the performance of any vacuum food sealer.  Try it only if you have a reason to own a "Pump 'n' Seal" anyway.

Offline Finnegans Wake

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2006, 01:22:27 PM »
Give it a try.  I did consider that as a recommendation, but IMO the basil will still bruise and brown.  Oregano is tougher, but any kind of crushing force is going to bust up your herbs.  Something like flat leaves of sage might hold up to it, or something pretty tough like thyme.  I just don't know.

But with basil, you almost have to choose fresh or dried.

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge. --
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Offline Kidder

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2006, 01:58:56 PM »
It'll give me an excuse to eat pizza more than twice a week. Or use it in another dish altogether. Dried basil just doesn't compare to fresh basil. I like dried oregano just fine though. I plan on putting it in or underneath the sauce when I spread it on the pie. I'm trying my hand at a basic margherita pizza tonight.

Offline Kidder

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2006, 04:53:03 PM »
Found this interesting.....http://www.herbsociety.org/basil/bsalt.php

I think I'd stay away from their oil and salt combination. Why did they even mention it when using just salt is a better method than the oil and salt combination? And you don't have to worry about botulism.

Offline icemncmth

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2006, 06:27:25 PM »
I take fresh herbs...chop them up a little...and put them in ice cube trays..then add water and freeze...When frozen I take them and put them in a zip bag..

I have been doing this for years,

Offline Wallman

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2006, 09:42:55 PM »
I also freeze my basil, we have a ton of it and the weather is about to kill it off here in NoVA. I coarsely chop it in a food processor, add a bit of olive oil and the freeze it in tightly wrapped in small portions. After defrosting it won't really be good for a tomatoe, moz. basil salad, but it will work well in sauces, as a topping, etc.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2006, 09:44:48 AM »
Similar to what has been reported above, Cook's Illustrated, in an email I received from them recently, offers the following tip on freezing fresh herbs:

Freezing Fresh Herbs
Many recipes call for just a small amount of herbs, which are often sold in large bunches. To keep herbs from going bad, try this method to keep them fresh indefinitely. Chop leftover fresh herbs by hand or in a food processor. Transfer with a spoon into ice cube trays and top with water to cover. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them to a zipper-lock bag and seal. Store and use when desired in sauces, soups, or stews.


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Offline vitus

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Re: Freezing fresh herbs?
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2006, 02:03:55 PM »
Fresh basil is just way too expensive to throw away after a week.
I can really really recommend growing basil in a pot in the kitchen window or where ever it can get a moderate amount of sunlight.

I live in Denmark and this isn't excactly the sunniest spot on earth. But I've always had fresh basil growing vigorously in my kitchen window. A fully grown basil plant in a plastic pot cost me the equivalent of $3 (acutally a little less) and if I remember to water it then I have fresh basil there for months.

The plant I am currently using is three months old and still looking fine and carrying nice basil leaves. And I use basil for cooking at least two or three times a week. It is amazing that the plant just keep growing new leaves, but it does!
I have had one basil plant (a "red" basil) that died in less than a month. But all the other types kept on growing for months!

I have heard that basil needs to grow in a rather warm place and my kitchen is never really cold. Maybe that's why I've never had problems with my herbs. I just water them a couple of times a week when they look dry.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 02:06:20 PM by vitus »