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I always have so much basil in my garden and it can turn black so fast. Here's what I do to have that garden-fresh basil flavor all year. I put fresh, cleaned basil leaves in the blender with just enough water to blend it to a thickened paste. I then pour the paste into ice-cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, I transfer cubes into zip-lock bags and store in the freezer. One cube equals about a small handful of basil leaves. I keep a couple of extra ice cube trays just for this.
I do a lot of Indo-Pak cooking so I also make a spice paste that is integral to that cuisine called "green masala" (which is a combination of cilantro, green chiles, mint, and fresh ginger root) using this same method.
Hint: Get odors out of ice-cube trays by soaking in hot water with a bit of dishwashing liquid and a few drops of bleach. Rinse well. No more blackened, wasted basil!
By claudine from Clifton, NJ
Fresh mint leaves can be preserved either by freezing or drying. Both methods work quite well for many herbs. Instructions for both methods are offered on this page.
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To have fresh chopped herbs, basil, marjoram, chives, dill weed, Italian parsley, etc. all winter long: Wash herbs, shake dry, process in food processor with about 1/2 c. water. Freeze in ice-cube trays, filling to top with additional water as necessary. I dump the frozen cubes into a zip-lock type freezer bag, excluding all air, then seal that bag in an additional bag of the same type, in the same manner.
By Shagribe from Montana
I've been doing this for a long time. What's really nice about this method is that when the time comes to use them, they are still bright green! (09/13/2006)
Super idea! I get the fresh herbs at the store and never get to use much of it before it goes bad. So, this would be wonderful and basically pre-measured! Thanks! (09/13/2006)
|Some herbs freeze nicely and you can freeze them in their whole form. But others such as Parsley, Tarragon, and Basil don't freeze well. You may want to store the more fragile herbs by dehydrating first, then containing.|
I have a dehydrator and use it for my basil and parsley. Once dried, I put these herbs in air tight jars kept handy when I am cooking. It's a super way to save money, and growing your own plants always lets you know how healthy each plant remains.
Use your fresh herbs, or your own dried herbs by adding to any meal you prepare and enjoy much tastier meals.
By kittyhassparkle from Tacoma, WA
|Don't worry if you don't have a dehydrator. I chop up fresh herbs and put them on a plate or dish towel and dry them on the kitchen table. It takes just a few days. I won seven or eight blue ribbons at the fair for my dried herbs, plus a best-of-show ribbon for best dried foods last year. The premium money came in handy. Best of all, the herbs are always growing in my flower beds, so they were free, you might say. Most of them are either perennial or plant themselves year after year.|
|By Coreen (Guest Post)|