Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saving herbs for the winter, a bit late but remember this for next year!

I had started the photo set for this, then got sidetracked with life.  Sorry it's not something timely but I really needed to look at green stuff today and think about herbs.  You know, it feels like it's been so gray and icy this winter, my bones are sore and cold.

Lots of folks grow herbs during the summer, we revel in fresh herbs!  Then is the winter we have to make do with either dried or those dear packets at the store.

Here is my solution for fresh herbs in the winter.

Herb ice cubes!

What you will need:

2 stacking/nesting ice cube trays
sharp knife for chopping (non-serrated)
cutting board
plastic wrap

fresh herbs
Vitamin C crystals or lemon juice

I like to just pick a happy passel of herbs.  I can almost smell the herbs in this picture. Remove the stems and other bits you don't want to have to pick out of your soup.

Make sure to use a knife that is sharp. Dull knives bruise the herbs. Chop to your desired size.  I like pretty fine but not dust,  You can also use whole leaves.  This is a pretty versatile method.

Take one of the clean and dry ice cube trays and portion the chopped herbs into the individual cubes.  At least a teaspoon of herbs, a tablespoon is better, but don't fill all the way to the top.  Water expands when it makes ice so leave some room.

Take some water or stock and add a splash of lemon juice or a pinch of Vitamin C crystals.  The lemon juice or Vitamin C crystals are to help keep the herbs fresh and green. They keep them from oxidizing on the cut edges.  It is also a wonderful bright flavor for soups, eggs, meat, etc.

I only filled the tray about half full.  You want the herbs to be fully covered by the liquid.   They float so you will never get them under the water.  But make sure there is enough liquid to cover.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and make sure the wrap hangs over the edges on all four sides.  Tuck under the tray and then nestle your second tray underneath, trapping the plastic wrap completely.  This will limit spills and other freezer problems.  

The plastic wrap will not stick to the plastic tray.  I have tried sticking it on with cello tape, packing tape, even duct tape, this two trays works way better than any tape.

Tidy! No spills!  These sat in the freezer since July.  Oops.  But look, very little problems or issues.  

When the cubes are frozen, remove the bottom tray, twist the top tray to loosen the herb cubes and pop out!

Bright green and fresh from the acidic water created by the Vitamin C or lemon juice.  

Put in a glass jar and store in the freezer.  Add a frozen cube or two in the final 5  minutes of cooking to keep the herb and lemon flavors fresh and bright.

It makes summer come alive in the dead of brown winter.  Do lots!  You will enjoy having them to splurge often.

Enjoy some lavender, just because Winter.


Pia said...

GREAT tip. :)

Sheron Buchele Rowland said...

Just made some soup and added a couple of cubes of herbs. Yummy!

Hope you try it!