Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Preserving Herbs

As we head into late summer, Sasquatch is pleased to announce the release of Canning and Preserving Your Own Harvest, An Encyclopedia of Country Living Guide by Carla Emery and Lorene Forkner. Drawn from and expanding on sections of the famed Encyclopedia of Country Living, this new book is an excellent beginner's guide to preserving the best of summer's bounty. With clear and easy instructions and more than 90 recipes for canned and preserved foods, anyone can learn how to savor the harvest year-round.

We'll kick off a series of excerpts from Canning and Preserving Your Own Harvest with a tip about preserving herbs. While drying herbs is a pretty common way to preserve them, freezing herbs can capture more flavor and is easy to do. Here's the advice on freezing herbs from Carla Emery and Lorene Forkner:

Choose herbs at the peak of their season when they have the maximum amount of flavorful oils, and process quickly to preserve their fresh taste. Before freezing, briefly blanch bundles of herbs to preserve their bright color. Hold small bundles of herbs with tongs and immerse in boiling water for no more than a few seconds. Drain and cool on towels before packaging in freezer bags. Even easier, chop fresh herbs finely and place them in a clean ice cube tray; each compartment will hold a couple of tablespoons of the chopped herb, a good portion size. Add boiling water to cover the herbs in the trays and freeze. There’s no need for additional blanching. Once the cubes are solid, pop them out of the tray and package in a freezer bag or container; label and date. These herb cubes can be added directly to sauces, stews and other preparations without thawing.
Best herbs for freezing: basil, chives, chervil, cilantro, dill leaves, lovage, mint, savory, and tarragon.

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